"Confidence Slips Away as Japan Battles Nuclear Peril"

"TOKYO — After workers switched on the first set of control room lights at Japan’s crippled power plant in Fukushima last week, the Japanese government offered its strongest assurances yet that its nuclear crisis was close to being under control.

Heroic workers and firefighters continued to cool the volatile reactors by pumping in hundreds of tons of water a day. Much-awaited electricity had reached the plant after a rush to extend new power lines, ready to hook up to vital cooling systems and guide the plant to a long-term 'cold shutdown.'

But less than a week later, a deluge of contaminated water, plutonium traces in the soil and an increasingly hazardous environment for workers at the plant have forced government officials to confront the reality that the emergency measures they have taken to keep nuclear fuel cool are producing increasingly dangerous side effects. And the prospect of restoring automatic cooling systems anytime soon is fading."

Ken Belson and Hiroko Tabuchi report for the New York Times March 29, 2011.

SEE ALSO:

"Japan Pays 'Suicide Squads' Fortunes To Work in Stricken Nuclear Plant as 'Battle Is Lost for Reactor Two'" (London Daily Mail)

"Japan Nuclear Crisis: Workers 'Losing Race' To Save Reactor" (London Telegraph)

"Setbacks Mount in Japan at Leaking Nuclear Plant" (AP)

"Japan's Nuclear Woes Deepen" (AP)

"Japan Orders Immediate Safety Steps for Nuclear Plants" (Reuters)

"Japanese Officials Downplay Concerns About Radioactive Seawater" (Radio Free Europe)

"For One Japanese Neighborhood, a Tsunami and Radiation End a Way of Life" (Washington Post)

"Utility President Hospitalized as Japan Struggles To Contain Radioactive Spread at Plant" (Washington Post)

"France And U.S. To Help Japan In Nuclear Crisis" (Reuters)

"Japan Weighs Nationalizing a Stricken Utility" (New York Times)

"Japanese Operator Says It Will Scrap Four Reactors at Plant" (New York Times)

"Japan Mulls Reactor Covers in Nuclear Crisis" (AFP)

"Obama Calls Japan Prime Minister Kan About Nuclear Crisis" (Wall St. Journal)

"Plutonium Found in Soil Near Fukushima Plant" (Reuters)

"Seawater Radiation Level Soars Near Plant" (Wall St. Journal)

"Japanese Officials Consider Cell Transplants for Nuclear Workers" (Guardian)

"Impact of Radiation on Ocean Water May Be Seen in Long Term" (Epoch Times)

"Radioactive Contamination Levels Drop in Japan " (Wall St. Journal)

"Outside Japan's Evacuation Zone, Villages In Limbo" (NPR)

Source: NY Times, 03/30/2011