Japanese technicians have taken a key step in helping stabilize the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant.
On Tuesday, they began the process of pumping out 25,000 metric tons of highly radioactive water that collected in the basement of Unit 2. Removing the water will give workers trying to restore the cooling system access to that area.
According to Tokyo Electric Power Co., 10,000 tons of water will be pumped out over the next three to four weeks. A faster pace could prove dangerous.
"If a pipe breaks and you're pumping hundreds of gallons a minute, you're going to make a huge mess," Michael Friedlander, a former senior nuclear power plant operator in the United States, explained.
Meanwhile, Tokyo Electric Power Co. projected in 'roadmap' released Sunday that it could take an additional nine months to shut down the plant.