March 17, 2011 at 4:36 PM ET
Japan has tried various ways to cool down its overheated nuclear complex, to little avail so far. Among the efforts: military vehicles designed to put out fires at plane crashes, high-pressure water cannons, fire trucks and even helicopters that are dropping batches of seawater.
Some readers have e-mailed msnbc.com with ideas to share, wondering if they would be of help:
Dmitry Rusak, of Bagsvaerd, Denmark, wrote that he sent this plan to "groups of physicists and Japanese news agencies, but it's really hard to find contact e-mails" of those handling the catastrophe. His idea: "Air balloon(s) over reactor for water supply."
Here's the step-by-step plan:
This solution can be fastly accomplished without any need of people presence for a long time.
1. Place water pump close to reactor — can be done shortly, (military) probably has one.
2. Fix a light water supply tube from pump to air balloon (balloon should lift up water supply over reactor).
3. Fix balloon over reactor using ropes on a ground to resist wind.
4. Supply water (better hard water with boron) — diesel power station, etc.
It should work. No people on air balloon necessary (see attached explanation picture).
Another reader, Vicki Kilborn, e-mailed asking:
Would it be possible to attach a 1- (to) 3-foot-wide 'hose' to the water tanks on the helicopters to make it possible to deliver the water directly into the reactors in Japan to cool it?
A hole could be cut into the 'tank' and it could be fitted with some kind of a ring that would seal the tank and the hose together along with a release valve. I'm no engineer, but this seems like it would be doable and could made quickly.
Please pass this idea on to the Japanese power company, the Japanese government, and their regulatory agency.
Shane Erwin, of Largo, Fla., offered this schematic:
What ideas do you have that have not yet been thought about or tried?
More about Japan's nuclear plant crisis: