In an effort to curb Tokyo's ever-warming urban sprawl, the government is considering a massive project to cool the heart of the capital using an underground network of pipes -- tantamount to the world's largest radiator.

Sources close to the plan said funds to further study the idea in fiscal 2003 will probably be sought by the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry when budget requests are submitted to the Finance Ministry later this month.

A report compiled by a panel of experts for the Japan District Heating and Cooling Association at the behest of the ministry has concluded that underground plumbing circulating waste water and seawater could help cool the city center.