Tepco gears up for strong typhoon

Tepco gears up for strong typhoon

TOKYO - A typhoon, described as the "strongest in 10 years", was closing in on Japan yesterday, on a path that will take it towards the precarious Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Typhoon Wipha, packing winds of nearly 200kmh near its centre and bringing heavy rains, was in the Pacific, south of Japan, yesterday evening, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

It was forecast to reach an area off the Tokyo metropolitan area early today, and would be off the coast of Fukushima, where the crippled nuclear power plant sits, later in the day.

"It is the strongest typhoon in 10 years to pass the Kanto region (Tokyo and its vicinity)," Mr Hiroyuki Uchida, the agency's chief forecaster, said.

"It is expected to have a great impact on the traffic systems in the metropolitan area during commuting hours," he said.

The operator of the Fukushima plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), said that it was bracing itself for the storm after a series of leaks of radiation-polluted water.

"We are making preparations for proper management of contaminated water...We will patrol places that could have inflows of water (from the storm)," a company spokesman said.

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