TOPICS > World

Crews Install Power Lines in Bid to Restore Damanged Reactors’ Cooling Systems

March 22, 2011 at 12:00 AM EDT

JEFFREY BROWN: Now, the latest in the disaster in Japan.

Crews took a major step today toward easing the danger at a crippled nuclear plant. They hooked up new power lines to all six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi site. Plans called for trying to restart the cooling system tomorrow, if all the equipment checks out. At the same time, Japanese officials also warned that radiation has contaminated the water supply in a village 20 miles away.

Meanwhile, recovery efforts escalated across the stricken region.

We have a report from Alex Thomson of Independent Television News. He’s in Sendai, the city that was closest to the quake’s epicenter.

ALEX THOMSON: It might not seem much to you, but believe me, it’s a huge step that you now can actually drive up to the set-down point at Sendai Airport’s departures terminal.

The United States Marine Corps will already be there to greet you, moving out cars, tree trunks, you name it, to make more space. And, extraordinarily, that really does seem to be a U.S. Air Force transport plane making final approach to landing.

Up on the roof, this is the CCTV camera, and this the events its lens registered and showed to the world just 10 days ago, inundating everything around here to a depth of 10 feet for more.

Ten days on, some progress, thanks to Japan’s Self-Defense Force and, laterally, the Americans, the American contribution, early air traffic control, because the quake had knocked out the control tower completely.

Down the road, Airport Bowl is not anymore a 10-pin bowling alley. It’s a mortuary. Relatives collect their coffins and the personal effects from their loved ones. The government says more than 9,000 people are now confirmed dead in this tsunami and earthquake.

We went down to the seaport here in this city of a million people to find out if their appearances of destruction were also something of a deception. True, there is an enormous amount of damage here, but yet at the wharves, at least two boats already docked and working. They’re not unloading. They’re simply carting off the mess that lies on the key side. But it is another beginning.