Story by Global Security Newswire Wednesday July 20th, 2011
Japan on Tuesday announced it would begin no later than 2015 the withdrawal of spent atomic fuel from cooling ponds at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Reuters reported (see GSN, July 19).
Authorities have battled to prevent radioactive contaminants from escaping the six-reactor facility following a March 11 earthquake and tsunami that left more than 20,000 people dead or missing in Japan. A response plan unveiled in April by plant operator Tokyo Electric Power called for the completion by Sunday of measures to minimize the likelihood of new hydrogen blasts at several reactors and prevent contaminated fluid from escaping the site. The plan calls for the facility to be placed in “cold shutdown” in early 2012.
A time line for reopening a 12-mile ring around the plant to roughly 80,000 evacuees is slated for government review by January, Tokyo indicated (Yoko Kubota, Reuters, July 19).