TOKYO - Exhausted engineers successfully attached a power cable to Japan's tsunami-crippled nuclear station on Saturday in a race to prevent deadly radiation from an accident now rated at least as bad as America's Three Mile Island in 1979.
Though it is still unknown whether that will be enough to restart water pumps needed to cool overheated nuclear fuel rods, it was at least a step forward at the six-reactor Fukushima plant in northeastern Japan, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.
At Fukushima, nearly 300 engineers working inside a 20 km (12 miles) evacuation zone were focused on trying to restore power at pumps in four of the reactors.
"TEPCO has connected the external transmission line with the receiving point of the plant and confirmed that electricity can be supplied," the plant's operator Tokyo Electric Power Co said in a statement.
The next stage will be to check equipment is working and not damaged before trying to crank up the coolers at reactor No. 2, followed by 1, 3 and 4, it added.