Japan:Reactor decommissioning to take 40 years
Laaska news Dec. 16, 2011
With a condition of cold shutdown achieved, the focus now shifts to scrapping the crippled reactors of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, after removing the melted nuclear fuel. The job may take up to 40 years.
The industry ministry and TEPCO have drawn up a new timetable to decommission the reactors.
Under the plan, workers will remove spent nuclear fuel rods from a pool at the No.4 reactor within 2 years. The rods would be stored on the premises for the time being.
Melted nuclear fuel inside reactors Nos.1, 2 and 3 is due to be recovered within 25 years. Work to scrap the reactors and the outer buildings would then proceed, with completion expected in 40 years at most.
All these challenges are unprecedented in human history.
Workers would have to pinpoint breaches in the reactor containment vessels and repair damage while dealing with massive continuous outflows of radioactive water.
Such work would have to be performed simultaneously at all 3 troubled reactors.
The new timetable will be subject to review at several key stages, and the target for decommissioning could be pushed back further.
The government and TEPCO plan to launch a new entity for decommissioning and officially announce the timetable next week.