Any which way they can

March 17, 2011 1:48:31 PM PDT
The frantic effort continues tonight - something of a suicide mission really - to prevent a nuclear disaster in Japan.

Workers, trying to get water - anyway, any how - on the reactors, especially numbers three and four. Both have spent fuel rods that are heating up to dangerous levels.

The Japan Syndrome is not what anyone wants.

There is talk that the tsunami-damaged nuclear power plant will get electricity back in the next day or two - and that would solve what has been a tragic drama of errors in the attempt to fill the containers with water. (The power loss meant that water was no longer being pumped, hence the crisis.)

Military helicopters poured huge buckets of water into the containers, and fire trucks tried to get close enough to spray water from their giant hoses into the plant. Everyone on board - in the air and on the ground - could work for just a few minutes at a time, given the high levels of radiation emanating from the plant.

President Obama this afternoon - using the words "nuclear" and "radiation" for the first time in this crisis - urged all U.S. citizens in Japan - estimated at up to 350,000 - to monitor the situation for any incoming radiation.

He also insisted that there's no indication radiation will blow to the U.S. - from Hawaii to Alaska to the West Coast.

And then he talked about his own plan to rebirth America's nuclear industry. He now wants the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to thoroughly review the nation's nuclear plans and plants.

Meanwhile, the director of the U.S. Geological Survey today told a House Subcommittee that it would be "shame on us if we don't learn from their misfortunes."

We'll see if anyone heeds her warning. We'll have the latest on the crisis, tonight at 11. Jim Dolan leads our coverage.

Also at 11, here in New York City a growing controversy over Mayor Bloomberg's budget cuts. A program called "Advantage," which provides rent subsidies for people who would otherwise be homeless is getting cut. So about 15,000 who have houses may soon not have them. Our Jeff Pegues is on the street tonight with the story.

We're also doing a story about the lengths some people go to get discounts on their medical procedures. I did a story several years ago for 20/20 about people getting nose jobs at a teaching hospital. It's not how I'd choose to save money, but it works for many people and it gives medical residents an opportunity to learn with real patients.

I was open to the idea right up until the supervising physician in the operating room frantically cried out, "no, no, no" to a student who was about to improperly crack the nose of a patient anesthetized on the gurney.

Tonight, a new twist on the search for savings. Medical travel is what they're calling it - travel agents who book not only hotel rooms and plane rides, but also doctors and operating rooms.

Again, it's not how I'd choose to save money. And it's not how I'd suggest my children spend theirs, but for many people it works. There are risks, however. Big risks. Carolina Leid has our report, at 11.

And we're following what could be a bloodbath tonight in Libya. Moammar Gaddafi, just as the U.N. finalizes its resolution to take action against him, warning his people who are rebelling that "we are coming tonight. There won't be any mercy." He told folks who live in rebel-held Benghazi that they would be forgiven if they put down their weapons. If not, he said, his soldiers would go house to house to track anyone with weapons. "We will find you," he promised.


We 'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.


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