U.S. Navy to Provide 500,000 Gallons of Fresh Water to Fukushima Power Plant


Story Number: NNS110325-07Release Date: 3/25/2011 10:42:00 AM
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By Joe Schmitt, Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) began transferring fresh water to two fuel barges, which will be used to support cooling efforts at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, March 25.

A total of 1.89 million litres (500,000 gallons) are being distributed between the barges that have been cleaned of fuel to support fresh water. The first Barge YOGN-115 departed CFAY at approximately 11:00 a.m. and will be escorted by a Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) multipurpose support ship JS Hiuchi (AMS 4302). The second barge is scheduled to leave within the next 24 to 48 hours. The water will eventually be used to replace the seawater currently being used in cooling efforts at the plant.

"We have two barges here," said CFAY Operations Officer Lt. Cmdr. Michael Weatherford. "They can both hold up to approximately 300,000 gallons of fresh water each. But the max capacity is reduced to make the barges seaworthy for ocean travel. The request was for one million gallons, so when I told them we could get 500,000 gallons we started working on getting these barges released from our custody over to the [Japan Maritime Self Defense Force]."

Japan Maritime Self Defense Force officers were present on the pier to watch workers finish the final preparations before the barges left.

"This method was planned by the Japanese government after holding a council with Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and others," said Capt. Fumiyuki Kitagawa, JMSDF officer. "After having a discussion with other ministries and agencies, [the Japanese government] decided to have Japan Maritime Self Defense to carry barges to Fukushima this time."

"Once it leaves Yokosuka, we figure about seven knots travel speed because it's going to be towed by the JMSDF in the open ocean," said Weatherford. "We're estimating that it should reach its destination about 50 kilometers south of Fukushima within 35 hours from departure."

After watching the barge leave, Kitagawa had a personal message for the people that had helped make this event happen.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Americans and the U.S. Navy personnel who provided us with prompt response in the wake of the earthquake," said Kitagawa. "Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Naval ships off the coast of Sanriku are still searching for the missing people and delivering foods to the victims in the shelters together. The hearts of the U.S. Sailors have been reaching Japanese people. I really appreciate it and am very proud that JMSDF and the U.S. Navy once again can work together. Thank you all, again."

For more news from Commander, Naval Forces Japan, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnfj/.

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RELATED PHOTOS
U.S. Navy Barge YON-287, filled with 851,000 liters (225,000 gallons) of fresh water, departs Fleet Activities Yokosuka to support cooling efforts at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
110326-N-UZ446-088 YOKOSUKA, Japan (March 26, 2011) U.S. Navy Barge YON-287, filled with 851,000 liters (225,000 gallons) of fresh water, departs Fleet Activities Yokosuka to support cooling efforts at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. YON-287 is the second of two barges supplied by the U.S. Navy to the government of Japan to aid in the cooling efforts. The two barges supplied a total of 1.89 million liters (500,000 gallons) of fresh water. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Smolinski/Released)
March 26, 2011
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