Connecting a power line to the No. 2 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant is expected to be completed during the day, the Japanese Kyodo news agency said.

Engineers today inched closer to connecting power at the tsunami—crippled Fukushima nuclear plants, north of the Japanese capital, so as to restore the damaged cooling system to the dangerously overheated nuclear fuel.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., which owns and runs the plants, has stepped up efforts to bring electricity back to its crippled nuclear reactors to cool down the overheating spent fuel, as firefighters said they were increasing the spraying of water at the plant in a desperate attempt to avert a meltdown.

Connecting a power line to the No. 2 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant is expected to be completed during the day, the Japanese Kyodo news agency said.

Engineers have now connected a power cable to the outside of the plant. Further cabling is under way inside to try to restart water pumps in four of the six reactors, the BBC said.

“We are scheduled to restore electricity at number 1 and 2 [reactors] today,” an official of the nuclear safety agency said.

“Reactors number 5 and 6 also will be powered today.

They are scheduled to restore power to number 3 and 4 tomorrow [Sunday],” the BBC quoted the official as saying.

More than a week after a devastating earthquake and tsunami, the report said restoring a stable source of electricity is a key step to prevent further deterioration of the situation by cooling down the reactor cores or water in the spent fuel tanks.

Defence Minister Toshimi Kitazawa told a press conference that an examination showed the surface temperatures at the No. 1 to No. 4 reactors at 100 C or lower and that their conditions remain stable than expected. ,

At a separate press conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the condition of the No. 3 reactor has become relatively stable following the water discharge and that the SDF is now preparing to spray water into the No. 4 reactor to cool its spent fuel pool.

“We are trying to get things under control, but we are still in an unpredictable situation,” he was quoted as saying by the Japanese news agency.

The accident severity level at the plant was raised from four to five on the 7—point international scale by Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, placing the crisis two levels below Ukrain’s 1986 Chernobyl disaster, a week after the magnitude—9 quake and massive tsunami rocked the country leaving over 17,000 people dead or unaccounted for.

After smoke was detected from the No. 3 reactor building on Wednesday, Self—Defence Forces, fire fighters and others have stepped up efforts to spray water at the damaged building so as to prevent radioactive release.

Tonnes of water have been used to douse overheating fuel rods in what the chief of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has described as “a race against time” to prevent a major disaster.

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