New Power Lines Could Help Ease Fukushima Nuke Crisis

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(AP / Koji Sasahara)

Japanese officials said Thursday local time that new power lines could restore electricity to the Fukushima plant, potentially easing the ongoing nuclear crisis.

(More on TIME.com: Read about Japan’s nuclear refugees.)

The line could revive the electric-powered water pumps needed to lower temperatures and pressure that have led to partial meltdowns in three reactors. Workers are currently manually pumping in seawater.  Japanese military helicopters also dumped seawater on Unit 3 of the Fukushima plant, but videos of the maneuver appear show much of the water being dispersed by the wind.

Tokyo Electric Power Company spokesman Naoki Tsunoda said the power line is almost complete and plans are in place to try to restore power “as soon as possible,” but could not say exactly when this would be. The company is also trying to repair an existing power line.

While measures are under way to cool reactor 3, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko warned that all the water was gone from a separate spent fuel pool at the plant’s Unit 4. Japanese officials expressed similar worries, but added that it was impossible to be sure of its status because monitoring equipment was down.They’ve requested that special police to bring in water cannons to spray into the spent fuel storage pool at unit 4. (Via AP)

(More from TIME.com: See our full coverage of the crisis in Japan.)

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