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he National Police Agency has been asked to send a water cannon to the Fukushima nuclear plant to help pour water into a containment pool holding spent fuel rods, broadcaster NHK said Wednesday.

Workers have struggled to top up water levels as the rods have heated up the water, threatening to evaporate it and expose the rods to air, which would send out radioactive material. The water cannon truck may start operations on Wednesday night, Kyodo News reported.

A Japanese military helicopter was deployed earlier Wednesday on a mission to dump water from a huge bucket onto the fuel rods, but returned due to a high level of radiation above the reactors and containment pool before night fell.