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Korea to send 52 tons of boron to stabilize Japan reactors

Korea is to send some of its reserves of a material used for regulating nuclear chain reactions to Japan to limit damage to its quake-damaged nuclear reactors.

The Korean government said Wednesday that it will send an emergency shipment of boron following Tokyo’s request for the metalloid, which is being mixed with seawater to limit damage at crippled nuclear facilities in Fukushima.

Tokyo has asked for 52 tons of boron to cool the overheated Fukushima reactors, as it is running short of the metalloid, Seoul said.

“Seoul has decided to provide whatever reserves it can spare without jeopardizing local nuclear operations,” an official of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy. “Depleted reserves will be restocked once the emergency situation has passed.”

Boron is the main material that goes into control rods to halt or slow down fission reactions at nuclear reactors. Japan has already mixed large amounts of boron with seawater and poured it into the reactors as an emergency measure.

Besides providing boric acid, local oil companies said they plan to ship products such as gasoline, diesel and kerosene to Japan after many refineries were forced to shut down due to the devastating quake.

Local oil companies such as S-Oil Corp., SK Energy Co. and GS Caltex Corp. said they have received requests from Japanese companies such as JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. for assistance.

Refiners said they are assessing their production capabilities and plan to ship what they can to help Japan better cope with the current crisis situation.

POSCO, the world’s fourth largest steelmaker, announced that it will donate 100 million yen ($1.24 million) to Japan in support of the recovery efforts.

The fund will be delivered to the Japanese authorities through POSCO Japan, the company said.

In addition, the steelmaker plans to collect donations from its employees that will be delivered at a later date.

The company also said that it will make adjustments to its output to meet the demands of Japanese firms and their requirements for steel in repairing the damage.

(From news reports)
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