Crippled nuclear plant not prepared for heavy rain, wind 05.28.11  
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Typhoon ‘Chedeng’ gains strength, moves towards Japan

Pagasa

The crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is not fully prepared for heavy rain and strong winds forecast due to a powerful typhoon moving Saturday toward disaster-affected areas of northeastern Japan, according to the plant’s operator Tokyo Electric Power Co.

FUKUSHIMA, Japan. Heavy rain has been forecast for the areas from Sunday to Monday due to the season’s second typhoon, Songda, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

TEPCO has for the last month been spreading anti-scattering agents around the troubled Nos. 1 to 4 reactor buildings to prevent radioactively contaminated dust from being carried into the air and sea by rain and wind.

But some of the reactor buildings have been left uncovered after they were damaged by hydrogen explosions following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. TEPCO plans to launch the work to put covers on the destroyed buildings in mid-June.

A TEPCO official said, ‘‘We have made utmost efforts, but we have not completed covering the damaged reactor buildings. We apologize for the lack of significant measures against wind and rain.’‘

Goshi Hosono, a special adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan, told a press conference that the current measures ‘‘cannot be said to be appropriate.’‘

He added, ‘‘We are now doing the utmost to prevent further spreading of radioactive materials in consideration of the typhoon.’’

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MANILA, Philippines – Typhoon “Chedeng” (international name: Songda) has gained strength and is moving towards Japan, the state-run weather bureau said.

In its latest weather bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said that Chedeng was seen 250 kilometers east of Tuguegarao City and is now packing maximum sustained winds of up to 195 kph near the center and gusts of up to 230 kph.

Chedeng is expected to move north northwestward at 19 kph, Pagasa said.

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[Editor's Note: As of 05.30.11, Songda, which strengthened to a supertyphoon after battering the Philippines, weakened to a Category 3 storm from Category 5 as it passed Taiwan on May 28. The typhoon’s path also shifted south compared with the earlier projections, lowering the risk of heavy rain or winds affecting the nuclear plant.]

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