Japan Nuclear Crisis Expected To Last Another Nine Months

It’s likely to be the end of the year but before the nuclear crisis in Japan is fully contained:

The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has said it expects to bring the crisis under control by the end of the year.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) aims to reduce radiation leaks in three months and to cool the reactors within nine months.

The utility said it also plans to cover the reactor building, which was hit by a huge quake and tsunami on 11 March.

Nearly 14,000 people died and another 14,000 are still unaccounted for.

Tepco unveiled its roadmap as Hillary Clinton briefly visited Tokyo to pledge America’s “steadfast support” for Japan’s reconstruction.

Radiation levels in the sea near reactor 2 rose to 6,500 times the legal limit on Friday, up from 1,100 times a day earlier, Tepco has said, raising fears of fresh radiation leaks.

Tsunehisa Katsumata, the chairman of Tepco, Asia’s largest utility, told a news conference in Tokyo on Sunday they would need up to nine months to bring the power plant to ”cold shutdown”.

He said the plan would allow the tens of thousands of families evacuated from the area around the facility to return home as soon as possible.

“We sincerely apologise for causing troubles,” Mr Katsumata said. “We are doing our utmost to prevent the crisis from further worsening.”

Tepco said after cold shutdown it would focus on encasing the reactor buildings, cleaning up contaminated soil and removing nuclear fuel.

Japan’s government had ordered Tepco to come up with a timetable to end the crisis, now rated on a par with the world’s worst nuclear accident, the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

But the BBC’s Roland Buerk in Tokyo says it is still not certain that the nine-month deadline can be achieved.

And, of course, it’s unclear what the impact on the environment around the plant will be.


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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. michael reynolds says:

    Seriously? Nine months? It has to be nine months? And yet we’re expected to avoid thinking about the radioactive gestation of a generation of Japanese super monsters?

  2. john personna says:

    I had a funny feeling that this could be another “BP, longer than expected” scenario.

    Keep in mind when considering any risky mega-engineering projects, for example the crazy climate things that are sometimes thrown around.

  3. Southern Hoosier says:

    The Japanese should have done from the beginning what the Russian did at Chernobyl. Just dump enough cement on the problem and not worry about it for the next 10,000 years. They could treat it like a modern work of art and call it, Monument to the stupidity of building on an active fault line,