JAPAN | Priority shifts to removing fuel from reactors 3, 4

Posted on July 17, 2011

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JAPAN | JAPAN TIMES | 17 July 2011

The government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. will place priority on removing fuel from the spent fuel pools of reactors 3 and 4 at the Fukushima No. 1 plant in the next phase of efforts to contain the crisis, sources said Saturday.

In a new road map for restoring the plant ravaged by the March earthquake and tsunami, the two parties will also specify for the first time that it will take up to three years to handle medium-term issues, such as treating highly radioactive water that has accumulated at the complex, the sources said.

Work to set up sheets around reactor buildings to prevent the dispersal of radioactive substances will be delayed, they said.

The updated version of the road map containing these measures is to be announced Tuesday, after “Step 1,” including injecting nitrogen into the No. 3 reactor to prevent a hydrogen explosion, has been completed.

Because the government sees the possibility of further radioactive materials being released as extremely low, it is planning to begin talks with local governments in Fukushima Prefecture to reduce areas subject to evacuation due to the nuclear disaster.

In the second phase of work to contain the crisis, major issues include achieving stable cooling of the damaged reactors and reducing the amount of contaminated water.

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