S Korea to send reactor coolant to Japan

2011-03-16 09:01
Seoul - South Korea said on Wednesday it plans to send an emergency shipment of cooling material to Japan to help control its quake-damaged nuclear reactors.

Tokyo has asked for 52 tons of boron, a key material used for regulating nuclear chain reactions, as it is running short of the metalloid to cool the overheated Fukushima reactors, Seoul said.

"We've sent boron samples. Now, we are scraping up all we got. We will ship 52 tons of boron as soon as Japan finds the sample compatible with their system," an official of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said.

Boron is an essential ingredient in control rods used to halt or slow down fission reactions at nuclear reactors.

Japan also asked for an emergency fuel shipment from South Korea.

S-Oil Corp, SK Energy Co and GS Caltex Corp said they planned to ship refined petroleum products such as petrol, diesel and kerosene to Japan after many refineries were forced to shut down due to the devastating quake.

"Japan's JX Nippon Oil and Energy Corp, our business partner in Japan, called for help," said a spokesperson for GS Caltex, South Korea's second-largest oil refiner.

"They said some of their refining facilities were damaged. We are reviewing what kind of products and how much we can ship to Japan," he said.

Crew evacuated

Fire crews were fighting a new blaze at reactor number four at the quake-hit Fukushima No 1 nuclear power plant, operator Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said on Wednesday.

Later, though, crews at the plant had to be evacuated because of a rise in radiation levels, a nuclear safety agency official said.

Fund-raising campaigns in South Korea to help victims of the monster quake and tsunami are in full swing.

The country's largest broadcasting company, KBS, said it raised 4.8bn won ($4.2 million) in a live TV programme on Tuesday and two other national channels said they would mount similar efforts on Wednesday.

Entertainment and sports stars also extended more helping hands.

"It's so heart-rending to watch the horrible disaster," said Choi Ji-Woo, the leading actress in Winter Sonata, a TV show that is a hit in Japan, after donating 100 million won to the victims through the Red Cross.

Her male counterpart Bae Yong-Joon on Tuesday donated 1bnwon.

Boy band JYJ, formed by three breakaway members of a popular group, TVXQ, said on Wednesday they would give $530 000.

Star football striker Park Ji-Sung contributed 100 million won as former major league baseball pitcher Park Chan-Ho, currently signed to the Osaka-based Orix Buffaloes in Japan, chipped in 10 million yen ($123 600).

Read more on:    south korea  |  japan  |  natural disasters  |  earthquakes  |  nuclear  |  japan earthquake

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