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Japan nuclear crisis: Closer to stabilization, but what about food supply?

The most dangerous of Japan’s stricken nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant appeared to stabilize Saturday, according to Japanes authorities.

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A Japanese fire truck sprays water on Unit 3 of the Fukushima Daichi reactor complex on Friday.

Japanese Defense Ministry

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The most dangerous of Japan’s stricken nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant appeared to stabilize Saturday, as firemen sprayed more water on spent fuel rods to prevent them from overheating and spreading potentially deadly radiation.

The situation at reactor No. 3 “is stabilizing somewhat,” cabinet spokesman Yukio Edano told a press conference, signaling a rare success in the efforts to prevent a meltdown.

Meanwhile, engineers managed to hook up an external power cable to the crippled plant’s central transmission point, according to the plant’s operator. They hope to test supply lines inside the plant on Sunday and then to restore power to water pumps in reactors 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Japan nuclear crisis: A timeline of key events

The top priority has been to ensure that spent fuel rods in reactor No. 3’s cooling pond are under as much water as possible. That reactor was using a mixture of uranium and much more toxic plutonium fuel when an earthquake and tsunami hit it last Friday.

Food supply

Mr. Edano sought to allay fears over the first reported discovery that foodstuffs from the area around the plant had been contaminated with radioactivity.

Milk and spinach from farms in Fukushima and a neighboring prefecture had been found to contain radiation at levels above the legal norm, Edano said, but this “would not affect consumers’ health.”

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