The government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Tuesday they have successfully achieved consistent and stable cooling of the reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant and will by mid-January reduce the amount of radioactive materials being released.
Indeed, the circulating injection cooling system to purify contaminated water and send it back to the reactor cores has started operating. TEPCO no longer faces a situation like before in which water to cool the reactor cores was becoming contaminated and leaking. Prospects for cooling the pools for spent nuclear fuel have also come into sight.
However, the fact remains that the circulation cooling system is a hastily arranged provisional measure. It is a last resort, with parts of the system located in the reactor and turbine buildings — places where water that has been in contact with reactor cores should never be in the first place. The system has been plagued with a series of problems including water leaks, and its processing capacity is below initial expectations.