Crews Get Power To Fukushima Plant

Emergency workers at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan have succeeded in restoring lighting to the control room of one of the plant’s reactors.

The extra light will help technicians fix equipment damaged by this month’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Power cables have been attached to all six reactors in the hope of restarting the cooling systems.

The operation to restore power had been interrupted on Monday because of fears that radiation might be leaking in a plume of smoke.

But after surging briefly the day before, the radiation levels fell again and so it was judged safe for the work to continue.

Narumi Suzuki, who was among the first firefighters sent in, says he was shocked by the extent of the damage.

“When I saw the building itself for the first time there were piles of rubble,” he said.

“It was much worse than we expected when we first set eyes on it.

“I and the other firefighters were frightened, but as a team we trusted each other and carried out the operation.”

There will be an attempt to restart the cooling systems and monitoring equipment once more inspections are complete.

The plant’s operators, Tokyo Electric Power Company, have apologised to thousands who have been forced to leave the area.

Company vice-president Norio Tsuzumi made the apology while visiting a gymnasium turned evacuation centre near the stricken nuclear plant.

He told evacuees, including the local mayor, the company was sorry for causing so much trouble.

Residents within 20 kilometres of the nuclear reactors have been ordered to leave.

Japan’s health ministry has ordered increased inspections of seafood after seawater off the plant site recorded radioactive iodine at 80 times the normal level.

The entire fishing industry in the region has already been wiped out by the tsunami.