Marines send nuclear team to Japan to help with ongoing crisis
By STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 1, 2011
SEOUL — A 155-member U.S. Marine force specially trained to work in chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological environments is expected to arrive Friday in Japan to help the Japanese government deal with the ongoing nuclear crisis.
According to the American Forces Press Service, the unit is part of the Chemical, Biological and Incident Response Force from the Naval Support Facility in Indian Head, Md. The unit will advise Japanese authorities about the ongoing crisis involving radiation leaking from the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.
The unit will bring equipment for agent detection and identification; casualty search, rescue and personnel decontamination; and emergency medical care and stabilization of contaminated personnel, the report said.
Meanwhile, U.S. Navy divers helped to reopen the harbor at Hachinohe, according to the press service. American ships used side-scan sonar to survey the harbor’s waterway, enabling divers to remove obstacles such as vehicles, a small storage building, 20-foot storage containers and 100-ton concrete blocks the tsunami washed out to sea.
Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force and commercial divers are coordinating with U.S. 7th Fleet units to assess the port of Miyako and plan for clearance operations there, the report said. The Navy teams might do the same in the port of Oshima after completion of operations at Miyako.
Additionally, U.S. Navy barges containing 500,000 gallons of fresh water from Yokosuka are being used at the crippled nuclear power plant, according to the press service. The water will be used to replace salt water in the reactor cooling system to lessen the corrosive impact of salt from the sea water still being used for emergency cooling.