Fukushima decommissioning timetable set

Dec. 21, 2011 at 1:33 PM
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Japan Says Fukushima Nuclear Reactor Under Control
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TOKYO, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- The Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. unveiled a work schedule for scrapping the damaged Fukushima reactors they say could last 30 to 40 years.

The announcement came after the government had said Friday the nuclear plant, hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, was in a stable state, what it called a "cold shutdown condition."

Under the proposed schedule for decommissioning, TEPCO would start removing the nuclear fuel stored in the spent fuel pools of the reactor units within two years and the melted fuel from the Numbers 1 to 3 reactors within 10 years, Kyodo News reported.

At a meeting Wednesday between government and TEPCO officials, industry minister Yukio Edano called on the utility to "move up" the planned work as much as possible to allay concerns of people still living as evacuees because of the disaster at the plant.

After the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island Unit 2 in the United States, which resulted in a partial meltdown of the reactor core, defueling took about 11 years.

Decommissioning the Fukushima plant is expected to be more challenging because multiple reactors suffered meltdown and the fuel is believed to have melted through the base of the reactor pressure vessels, officials said.

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