Japan's power plant set timeline for nine-month plan

The operator of Japan's earthquake related nuclear power disaster said Sunday that it had developed a nine-month plan for resolving the crisis, during which the three damaged reactor buildings at the facility will be covered.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited the Tokyo Sunday, becoming the most senior American official to visit since the disaster, reported the New York Times. Clinton was to meet with senior Japanese officials, including the prime minister, emperor and empress.

Clinton told USA Today that she was visiting "to demonstrate our very strong bonds of friendship that go very deep into the hearts of our people."

Prime Minister Naoto Kan called resolving the nuclear crisis his "top priority" in response to criticism over his administration's handling of the disaster.

"I take very seriously, and deeply regret, the nuclear accidents we have had at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant," Kan said.

The goals are part of a two-part plan for controlling the reactors and improving safety conditions created by 15-meter-high tsunami waves on March 11.

The first part of the plan, is estimated to take three months and included installing a cooling system to lower the temperature in the reactors, as well as reducing radiation in the surrounding area, according to USA Today.

The second part included more pumping of water, the introduction of a heat removal system and reducing the amount of contaminated water. This was expected to take six more months, the New York Times reported.

Wreckage from the three damaged buildings would then be removed and the buildings covered. This temporary cover will be equipped with air filters to prevent radioactive materials from escaping.

Officials reported late Saturday that radioactivity levels had again risen in seawater near the plant. Authorities insisted the radioactivity will dissipate and posed no immediate threat to sea creatures or people who might eat them.

Despite the affirmation, plant workers began dumping sandbags with zeolite, a mineral that absorbs radioactive cesium, into the sea Saturday to combat the radiation leaks.

Radiation also leaked into the air, which forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.

"The safety of residents is our foremost priority," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano . "I told the governor that the government will do everything it can to prevent the crisis from worsening."

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