The lethal scope of the natural and nuclear disasters in Japan broadened Saturday, as Japanese officials announced the death toll rose to 7,300, and workers raced to cool a dangerously overheated nuclear fuel.
More than 11,000 people are still missing after the deadly earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan, Voice of America reported. Emergency crews were working Saturday to connect the disabled reactors of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to power lines. Power is needed to keep the systems that cool the nuclear fuel running. In the absence of power, crews have been pumping ocean water on the fuel, the AP reports.
Plant operators said they planned to reconnect for the plant's six reactors to the power grid Saturday, according to reports. Still, it is not clear if the cooling systems will properly function once power is restored.
The Japanese government admitted Friday that it had been slow to respond to the crisis.
"In hindsight, we could have moved a little quicker in assessing the situation and coordinating all that information and provided it faster," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Friday, according to the AP.