Japan put its top priority on Wednesday on efforts to cool down a plutonium-fuelled nuclear reactor, attempting at one stage to water-bomb the facility without success amid fears that authorities were running out of options to avert disaster.
The No.3 reactor is the only one of the quake-stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant's six reactor units to be powered with plutonium, which is far more hazardous to health than uranium, which is used to power the other five reactors.
High radiation levels had stopped a military helicopter from dumping water on the No.3 reactor, local media said. The plant's owner, Tokyo Electric Power , declined to comment.
It was not clear if the helicopter was trying to pour water on the reactor vessel or on an associated spent-fuel pool, a deep reservoir where spent nuclear fuel rods are kept. Public broadcaster NHK said the water was for the spent-fuel pool.
Later, Kyodo news agency quoted a government taskforce as saying it was unlikely the No.3 reactor had sustained major damage.
The number of workers at the complex has increased to 180, up from 50 a day earlier but still far less than the 800 that were deployed there immediately after Friday's devastating 9.0 magnitude quake and tsunami.
Debris on roads has hampering efforts to bring in equipment, and there are plans to bulldoze a road into another part of the complex, the No.4 reactor, which is the second priority.
"The situation at the No.4 reactor is not exactly a good situation but the No.3 reactor is a higher priority," a Tokyo Electric Power official told a media briefing.
On Tuesday, an explosion blew two holes in the wall of a building housing the No.4 reactor unit's spent-fuel pool, exposing it to the atmosphere.
Tokyo Electric also said it was not sure what was happening at the No.2 reactor, which saw a sudden drop in pressure.
The company said this might indicate it was being cooled or it could also be an ominous sign that there was a hole in the core container. Or it might just be a faulty pressure reading.
"We cannot with certainty say whether or not the core container is airtight," the company official said.
The company also said it was pouring water at the reactors No.5 and No. 6, but it was also not immediately clear into which parts of those two reactor units.
It did say, however, that temperatures at the spent-fuel pools in those reactors had risen slightly since Wednesday morning. There was water in the pools but it was having trouble circulating the water because of cooling-system problems.
There was no new data on temperatures of the spent- fuel pools at reactors No.1 to No.4.
Senior commander Umar Lateef was killed and his wife detained during an overnight raid. Punjab province had placed a $20,000 bounty for his capture.
The situation for some 140,000 Rohingya, many of whom are confined to flimsy tent-like cities, is dire as rescuers are unable to reach them.
Egypt has continued its war against the Muslim Brotherhood by sentencing 300 Muslim Brotherhood members for three to ten years in prison
In a joint operation, the US and New Zealand tested weapons which could emulate a 33 ft tsunami as a possible alternative to a nuclear bomb.
Turkish president stops over in Islamabad to meet Pakistani prime minister
Integrated Community Shelter built in Aceh with $420,000 in funding from various parties inside and outside of country
For the first time maritime militia could get its own fishing fleet, a boost for the world’s largest producer and exporter of fish
Mullah Akhtar Mansour's message is aimed at fending off the emerging risk of the group splintering into factions
The Afghan Defense Ministry has also claimed that the Nawzad district in southern Helmand province has been reclaimed two days after Taliban overran it
The US Intelligence Community has also assessed that the former leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, is dead, White House says
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Turkey is ready to boost cooperation with the Asia Pacific region, an increasingly important region in world economy
Valiollah Mohammadi, the Iranian ambassasdor to Indonesia has confirmed that a visit will take place next week with talks focused on banking, technology and oil
The spying goes back at least as far as 2006, WikiLeaks said
BSF troopers at Khora border outpost fired three to four rounds of automatic gunfire
Early morning attack in the south has wounded 14 people in Yala province.
International Olympic Committee will make the announcement after a vote held during the IOC session in Kuala Lumpur