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By Friday night, the fire department's Hyper Rescue Squad was ready to head to the scene.
Key to that success: An elite disaster-response team from Tokyo, the Hyper Rescue Squad, and its massive water cannon known as the Super Pumper.
Fighting its way through rubble in heavy protective gear, the Hyper Rescue Squad poured some three million liters of water in a 13 ½-hour operation that ended early Sunday, equivalent to dumping an entire Olympic-size swimming pool on the No. 3 reactor's area for spent fuel.
"No matter what protective gear you have on, if you touch or inhale radioactive material, that means death," said Yukio Takayama, leader of a Hyper Rescue Squad unit, told The Wall Street Journal.
Shintaro Ishihara to ask for dispatch of the Hyper Rescue Squad and got quick agreement.
Following the lead of the Tokyo Fire Department's Hyper Rescue Squad, which started Saturday to pour millions of liters on reactor No. 3 using its Super Pumper water-spraying vehicle, regional governments are adding their firepower.
The Hyper Rescue Squad received a hero's welcome from Tokyo Gov.
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