"TOKYO — Amid widening alarm in the United States and elsewhere about Japan’s nuclear crisis, military fire trucks began spraying cooling water on spent fuel rods at the country’s stricken nuclear power station on Thursday, but later suspended the operation, the NHK broadcaster said.
The development came as the authorities reached for ever more desperate and unconventional methods to cool damaged reactors, deploying helicopters and water cannons in a race to prevent perilous overheating in the spent rods.
Moments before the military began spraying, police in water cannon trucks had been forced back by high levels of radiation in the same area, but it was not immediately clear why the military fire trucks had suspended their operation. Police had been attempting to get within 50 yards of the No. 3 reactor The full impact of the tactic was not immediately clear.
The Japanese efforts focused on a different part of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, 140 miles northeast of here, from the reactor depicted in Washington on Wednesday as presenting a far bleaker threat than the Japanese government had offered."