Damaged Japanese Nuclear
Plant In 'Cold Shutdown
Fukushima Power Plant
EMF Protection Devices
Magnetic Field Detector
By MARI YAMAGUCHI
TOKYO -- Japan's
prime minister announced Friday that the country's
tsunami-damaged nuclear plant has achieved a stable state of
"cold shutdown," a crucial step toward the eventual lifting
of evacuation orders and closing of the plant.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's announcement was intended to
reassure the nation that significant progress has been made
in the nine months since the March 11 tsunami sent three
reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant into meltdowns in
the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.
But experts say the plant 140 miles northeast of Tokyo remains
vulnerable to problems and its surroundings are contaminated
by radiation and closing the plant safely will take 30 or
"The reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant have
reached a state of cold shutdown," Noda said. "Now that we
have achieved stability in the reactors, a major concern for
the nation has been resolved."
Radiation released from the plant has been significantly
reduced, and additional safety measures installed at the
plant ensure stability even in the event of another major
disaster, he said.
Noda said he hopes conditions will improve quickly so that the
people who have been displaced by the crisis can return home
"even a day sooner."
"There are many issues that remain," Noda said. "Our battle is not
The government's official endorsement of the claim by Tokyo
Electric Power Co. that the reactors have reached cold
shutdown status is a necessary step toward revising
evacuation zones around the plant and shifting the focus
from simply stabilizing the facility to actually starting
the arduous process of shutting it down.
But Noda acknowledged the assessment has some important caveats.
The government said Fukushima Dai-ichi has reached cold shutdown
"conditions" -- a cautious phrasing reflecting the fact that
TEPCO cannot measure the temperatures of melted fuel in the
damaged reactors in the same way as with normally
Even so, the announcement marks the end of the second phase of the
government's lengthy roadmap to completely decommission the
Officials can now start discussing whether to allow some
evacuees to return to less-contaminated areas -- although a
12-mile zone around the plant is expected to remain off
limits for years to come. The crisis displaced some 100,000