JAPAN | Discussions begin on how to scrap Fukushima plant

Posted on August 4, 2011

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JAPAN | NHK | 4 August 2011

A government-appointed panel plans to finalize a timetable by January next year on decommissioning damaged reactors at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The panel of experts set up by the Atomic Energy Commission held its first meeting on Wednesday.

Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, Shunsuke Kondo, called on the members to begin middle and long-term efforts to shut down the plant.

The panel will draw up a timetable using as a reference the accident at Three Mile Island in 1979. The first goal is to extract the melted fuel rods.

But the situation is more serious at Fukushima, because no one knows where the melted fuel is, and in what condition. Additionally, meltdowns have occurred at 3 reactors at Fukushima.

Kyoto University Professor Hajimu Yamana, who heads the panel, said he expects a longer preparation time in order to extract the melted fuel, because the reactor cores at Fukushima are more badly damaged than Three Mile Island was. He suggests the process could take as long as 20 years.

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