UPDATE AS OF 10 A.M. EDT, SATURDAY, MARCH 19 (per NEI):
At a March 19 news conference, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that sea water injection is continuing at reactors 1, 2 and 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Preparations were being made to spray water into the used fuel pool at reactor 4, and an unmanned vehicle sprayed more than 1,500 gallons of water over seven hours into the used fuel pool at reactor 3, Edano said. He also said he believed that the situation at the reactor 3 fuel pool is stabilizing.
Some reactor cooling capacity has been restored at reactors 5 and 6 after the installation of generators at those reactors, Edano added.
Edano said that progress had been made on “a fundamental solution” to restore power at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, with electricity expected to be restored at reactors 1 and 2 today and reactor 3 as early as Sunday.
Edano said that additional equipment was being transported to the site and that other means of providing cooling water to the pool is be examined.
Radiation dose at the west gate of the Fukushima Daiichi was 83 millirem per hour on March 18 at 7:10 p.m. EDT and dropped to 36 millirem per hour by 8 p.m. EDT, Edano said. Radiation levels have decreased since March 16. Although they are higher than normal, radiation levels near the reactors are within the range that allows workers to continue on-site recovery measures, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.
According to the IAEA, radiation dose rates in Tokyo and other areas outside the 30-kilometer zone remain far below levels which would require any protective action by the public.
All reactors at the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant are in cold shutdown (See the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum website).
Radiation levels have increased above the federal government’s level in some food products from the Fukushima Prefecture and nearby areas. These levels were detected in samples of milk in Fukushima Prefecture and six samples of spinach in neighboring Ibaraki Prefecture, according to the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum. Edano said that if these products are consumed for a year, the total radiation dose would be equivalent to one CT scan.
Additional monitoring of food products is continuing in those regions.