Fukushima workers make progress in tackling reactor

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Fukushima workers make progress in tackling reactor

Fukushima workers make progress in tackling reactor
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Emergency workers at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan have made progress in their vital effort to repair the cooling system.

By fixing a container at the end of a mechanical arm, they have managed to pump out a sample of highly radioactive water. Eventually they hope to empty the reactor.

New data shows much more radiation leaked from the plant in the early days of the crisis than was first thought.

A US nuclear safety regulator has described the situation at Fukushima as “static” rather than “stable”.

Meanwhile a Japan Airlines flight has become the first to land at the newly re-opened airport at Sendai, badly damaged by the earthquake and tsunami.

Many of the first passengers were people worried about families or homes in the region, arriving back to an emotional reunion with relatives. “Welcome back”, read one banner.

A psychologist said she had come to help the hundreds of thousands affected by the dual disasters.

Another passenger said she had seen it all on TV but did not realise the extent of the damage until she saw it with her own eyes from the air.

A month after the airport was submerged by the tsunami it remains dependent on its own power generators and has no water supply.

Limited services have restarted to and from Tokyo and Osaka. Authorities hope to resume international flights later this year.