Japan’s nuclear safety agency says it hopes to restore power today to at least two reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
Electricity should help resume pumping operations to cool temperatures by pouring cold water on overheating fuel rods.
There have been fears that cooling pools may have run dry.
On Thursday officials said engineers had succeeded in laying a power cable to reactor No 2.
But white smoke or steam has continued to escape from three of the reactors.
The UN’s nuclear watchdog the IAEA has called the situation at the plant “reasonably stable” as the authorities battle to prevent a disastrous release of radiation.
More than 5,500 deaths have now been confirmed. Almost another 10,000 are still unaccounted for in six prefectures.
More than one a half million homes have no running water; 30,000 are still without power.
Where the quake and tsunami failed to kill, the fear is now that many may succumb to the cold.