Tepco vents No. 2 reactor while U.S. surveys ocean


Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Saturday it began filtered venting of the No. 2 reactor building at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant to reduce radiation levels to the point where workers can go inside.

If the airborne radioactivity inside drops enough after three days, Tepco plans to open up the doors and send workers in to make repairs.

The No. 2 unit’s high radioactivity and humidity have prevented workers from checking gauges and pipes, hampering the beleaguered utility’s efforts to guide the reactor into a cold shutdown.

Meanwhile, a U.S. private research institute is conducting a survey of waters off Fukushima to assess the radiation’s impact on the ecosystem.

An international team of experts led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution began the 15-day survey June 4. It is being carried out on a research ship from the University of Hawaii, with permission from the Japanese government, government officials said.