Japan Makes Breakthrough In
Fukushima Power Plant
EMF Protection Devices
Magnetic Field Detector
December 16, 2011
By Jonathan Soble in Tokyo
Japan has succeeded in
bringing its tsunami-stricken atomic power station to a safe
“cold shutdown”, the government said on Friday, concluding
the most dangerous phase of its nuclear crisis after a
Yoshihiko Noda, prime
minister, announced the end of the emergency at a meeting of
officials from his administration and Tokyo Electric Power,
the Fukushima Daiichi plant 240km north of Tokyo.
“The reactors have achieved
cold shutdown, and it is judged that the power plant
accident itself is resolved,” he said.
Three reactors at Fukushima
Daiichi melted down in March after a powerful tsunami
swamped the facility, knocking out its cooling systems.
Radiation leaks forced more than 100,000 people to abandon
homes nearby and polluted some 3 per cent of Japan’s land
mass to levels requiring decontamination.
The accident was the worst
caused by the nuclear power industry since the 1986
explosion and meltdown at Chernobyl in the then Soviet
Cold shutdown is a technical
term meaning temperatures inside the reactors’ cores are
stably below the 100-degree centigrade boiling point. It
indicates that a nuclear chain reaction is highly unlikely
to recur, though Fukushima Daiichi’s damaged units remain
highly radioactive at close range and will remain so for
Teams of engineers and
emergency workers have been pumping water into the reactors
since the first days of the crisis – initially using fire
hoses to spray them with seawater, and later employing a
jury-rigged system of tanks and pipelines.
A side effect of their early
efforts was that tens of thousands of tonnes of contaminated
water built up at the site, some of which leaked into the
The next step will be
permanently to decommission the facility, a process that is
expected to take decades and cost tens of billions of
dollars. It will involve sealing or dismantling the three
meltdown-hit reactors and at least one more damaged unit on
the six-reactor site.
Simply removing the units’
uranium fuel will be difficult and time-consuming: a still
unverified amount of fuel has burned through the reactors’
central containment vessels, forming dangerous pools on the
floors below. In addition, technicians must deal with four
damaged storage tanks containing still-radioactive spent
Tepco is due to complete a
decommissioning plan later this month. Depending on its cost
projections, the government could be forced to inject
additional capital into the financially struggling utility,
in effect nationalising it, according to people familiar
with the matter.
A government-appointed panel
estimated in October that sealing or dismantling the site’s
four ruined reactors could cost Y1,100bn, but some
government officials and outside experts argue that the true
amount could be several times higher.