Friday, 16th December 2011
In General Japan News,
Noda: 'Cold shutdown' has stabilised Fukushima
Japan's prime minister Yoshihiko Noda said today (December 16th) that the stricken Fukushima power plant has finally been stabilised.
The plant was crippled when the March earthquake and tsunami damaged essential cooling systems, causing radiation leaks and the subsequent evacuation of thousands of people.
Now, the Japanese government have declared that the nuclear facility has been stabilised after "cold shutdown" was achieved.
Speaking at a press conference, Mr Noda said: "The nuclear reactors have reached a state of cold shutdown and therefore we can now confirm that we have come to the end of the accident phase of the actual reactors."
Mr Noda acknowledged that the battle was not over, but this announcement marks a major milestone as the Japanese government continue along the roadmap to recovery.
"The Japanese government promises to clarify the roadmap from here and do our utmost, while ensuring we operate the nuclear reactors as safely as possible, to decommission them," he said.
The prime minister added that it was now a case of moving from stabilising the reactors to fully decommissioning them.
However, it will take the government decades to completely dismantle the power plant and it is unclear how long a 20km exclusion zone around the site will be in place for as those who lived close to the site are forced to stay away from their homes.
A prediction of 40 years until full decommission can be achieved was made by the government earlier this week as spent fuel rods from inside the reactors have to be removed and stored.
The government has however achieved its goal of stabilising the site by the end of the year, a target it set earlier in 2011.
Over 80,000 people were evacuated from the area following the incident, but radiation in some places remains too high for people to return home, the BBC reported.
Written by Kimberley Homer
Related news stories:
Fukushima avoids tsunami after 7.4-magnitude quake (22nd November 2016)
Draft bill issued to overcome future disasters (6th October 2011)
Government ban on Fukushima food widened (23rd March 2011)