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Efforts to stabilize nuclear crisis on track, say gov't, TEPCO

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Japan on Tuesday said plans to end the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant by January next year are on schedule, with crippled reactors being "stably" cooled and radiation levels reduced.

The government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said they remain on target to bring reactors there to a safe state of cold shutdown by January at the latest now that a water circulation system has been established.

TEPCO said it had met three-month goals that were part of the "road map" to eventually bring the facility to a safe condition and is ready to now focus on reducing radiation levels further as part of the map's second stage.

Pointing to a long clean-up process however, it said it also aimed to start removing spent fuel within three years of reaching cold shutdown -- or when reactor water temperatures are below 100 degrees Celsius (212 Fahrenheit), stopping the release of radioactive steam.

"We are now at the point to enter the second step," Prime Minister Naoto Kan told parliament. "We are starting to see a tremendously critical condition heading towards a certain level of settlement".

Efforts to stabilize the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl 25 years ago have continued since a 9.0 magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami on March 11, sparking reactor meltdowns at the plant and spewing radiation into the environment.

A key challenge was how to deal with massive amounts of highly radioactive water that accumulated as a result of emergency efforts to inject water into reactors to cool melting fuel inside.

Workers have installed systems that remove radioactive substances from the polluted water before recycling the decontaminated liquid to cool reactors one to three, although the process was troubled by further leaks and other setbacks.

"The accident has not yet come to an end, but the efforts to stabilize it has made progress," Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda told reporters.

The government said radiation levels around the plant, which lies 220 kilometers from Tokyo, had fallen to "two-millionth" of the peak recorded March 15.

That translates into an average annual radiation dosage of 1.7 millisieverts at the boundary of the plant's grounds, according to the government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

Tens of thousands of people remain evacuated from homes, businesses and farms in a 20-kilometer no-go zone around the plant.

Amid criticism it has done little to safeguard local residents from radiation risks, the government pledged to earmark 78.2 billion yen for a health program to monitor radiation exposure of all Fukushima residents.

© Agence France-Presse

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

27 Comments
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There are Hot spots of radiation 160km away from Daiichi. What about those:

From Omaemona page here at JT: Kaieda and TEPCO officials had some interesting things to say in these series of video interviews with Nippon Hoso Kyokai.

http://goo.gl/jeytn

The overall impression that I got after watching the whole thing was "blind leading the blind"

The above link is part one. below is part two

from Omaemona Watch this recent NHK special [http://bit.ly/mTiWOZ] and it should make anyone realize how the ones who are supposed to be in charge of insuring the public's safety have been asleep at the wheel.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Utrack, you are right, the situation concerning radioactive accumulation in the environment even in Tokyo area is difficult. However, this article is on a completely different matter, and I, for once, appreciate that progress is made at the source of the whole nuclear disaster. I guess, still the situation is not under control, and one has to be careful in any assessment on how stable the cooling is atm, or what will happen if another aftershock rattles the box, but progress has been made. Good. Ganbare!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Amid criticism it has done little to safeguard local residents from radiation risks, the government pledged to earmark 78.2 billion yen for a health program to monitor radiation exposure of all Fukushima residents.

Other Prefectures have been affected too.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The whole nation, through bioaccumulation is being poisoned. The continual release of radioactivity is simply mind-boggling. We haven't had any stats about the now four month nine day total release or, for that matter, the entire period up to today from when? Exactly. It should have been approached as the worst case scenario from Day Zero because that is what it has proven to be.

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Utrak, your video link was perfect. Good stuff.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes, "should have", "could have", all very nice. But the "is" is just as it is, and I really appreciate that the people trying to bring this hissing and spitting monster under control seem to be gaining ground. There were huge mistakes in the past, and some things are not handled with the care they deserve, but kind of good news every now and then are really nice to read.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Doomed. No. You are wrong in terms of trying to --childishly-- 'prove' the supposed 'hindsight' as a fallacy. Something as catastrophic as this, as a lethal as this needed to be approached from worst case scenario from Day Zero. It is not unprecedented.

No one on this board is in any way or form attempting to diminish or undercut the bravery and dedication of the workers at Dai-Ichi.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And the 215 seiverts/ hour in the lower containment areas? Where the corium has melted and lies on the concrete containment? Just pouring water over it and generating gallons of highly contaminated water? Do they have any real plan to deal with it? The nuclear industry constantly denied that their worst nightmare of a fuel meltdown to outside of the Reactor Pressure Vessel could ever happen with their defense in depth. No carbon-based workers can enter that area, nor can any of the silicon-based 'bots. It'll be interesting to see how they plan to deal with this, if at all...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Utrack, YongYang, etc, take one moment to relax. This is good news.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Beware the air movements from the typhoon.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

So it is time for Kan to resign.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Something as catastrophic as this, as a lethal as this needed to be approached from worst case scenario from Day Zero. It is not unprecedented.

Actually, it is unprecendented. I'm trying to think of another 9.0 earthquake and major tsunami that took out not only a NPP but the surrounding infrastructure. There just aren't any similar situations in history.

This IS good news - hopefully things will continue to stay on course and recovery can gradually begin.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Pawatan: You seem to miss that this article is about the nuclear catastrophe. Not the natural one. It is not unprecedented. Look up Chernobyl, 1986.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

January , that's next year! Bar any more unforeseen incidents. Also it says it will take 3years after cool shut down to halt the release of radio active steam. Also the first paragraph states that by January there will be a Reduction of Radiation levels...not stopped but reduced. If this is good news, then the bar is very low. At best we have 4 more years or leakage and a build up around us of BAD isotopes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You seem to miss that this article is about the nuclear catastrophe. Not the natural one. It is not unprecedented. Look up Chernobyl, 1986.

The two are one and the same, and it's pointless to try to decouple them. The nuclear catastrophe doesn't happen without the natural one.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

While I agree that Japan's (both the govt and TEPCO) handling of the disaster from since day zero has dismal at best, I would like to point out that drawing a parallel between Chernobyl and Fukushima is a dubious evaluation. While there are many similar circumstances that surround the progression of both nuclear disasters (meltdown, constant background radiation release), there are also many differences (no nuclear explosion, natural causes, no open-air radiation release via explosion smoke).

To paint Fukushima as Chernobyl 2.0 is over simplistic at best, and definitely far too early an assumption at this stage. Just take a cursory look at the facts:

Unlike Chernobyl, workers are able to be on-scene, working on the plant, albeit with sufficient protection and timed shifts, and no one has died yet.

DESPITE this, the total radiation Fukushima may release by the total shut down of the reactors may exceed even Chernobyl's.

This shows how the situation between the two disaster cannot be easily equated and compared. Furthermore, if you're directly comparing the government response to the two nuclear disasters, then I'd say almost anyone would be forced to say Japan did better than Russia, dismal though Japan's response may be.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

on track

what a joke!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Just learnt that 'cold shutdown' means when 'reactor water temperatures are not actually at or above the boiling point'.

It's a relative expression, so 99 degress could be 'cold' by that definition, right?

So they are pouring cold water onto the melted mass of fuel rods (corium) and if and when steam is not released as the water hits the corium, they are actually in the 'cold' zone???

0 ( +1 / -1 )

they ll say just about anything to get ppl off their backs

1 ( +2 / -1 )

A big thank you to everyone involved in stabilising this.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The workers at TEPCO are sacrificing their Lives and everyone appreciate their valient effort. J Govt and TEPCO Corporate office has to also DEAL with the ramafications od the Hyodrgen Explosion (s). Which left Hot Spots 160km away with radiation levels as high as being right nevt to the Daiichi NPP. Tochigi is one such place, the govt has not had simulations run to find out where these Hot Spot are. Professionals have done this in their own right to understand whats going on in their country. That is why I'm saying OTHER prefectures are affected.

If you was the NHK special the link is on one of my previous comments you will see what I am talking about

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I meant if you SEE the NHK special the link is on one of my previous comments you will see what I am talking about

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I see a lot of negative responses here. Let me ask you a simple question; if you were tepco or jgov't position, what would you do?

Cover the entire thing in Cement? Guess what kiddies, you can't shut down a nuke plant that melted. Move all the people to another location? Where would they go? the US? the US is already having probable with illegals, bring 100mill+ people and see how they'll react.

So how about you kids shut up and let these people do their job.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

That's Funny, Without nature YOU can not live.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What? I don't know what you are talking about. I meant you have to eat to live and the link is just an educational synapsis of what the Professionals are doing in Japan to understand the situation PERIOD.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You seem to miss that this article is about the nuclear catastrophe. Not the natural one. It is not unprecedented. Look up Chernobyl, 1986.

exactly, they are one and the same. "not the natural one"...? the natural nuclear disater? still, it's not like Chernobyl, stop the fear mongering would you.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Readers, Chernobyl is not relevant to this discussion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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