TEPCO revises timetable to cold shutdown for seventh time in eight months

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The government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. have revised the timetable for the seventh time in the eight months since the crisis began. Data suggests the reactors and radioactive material are under control, and the power plant will achieve a cold shutdown once required conditions are confirmed.

The situation at the nuclear plant does not meet this definition. Is it appropriate for the government and TEPCO to call the current status nearly a cold shutdown?

However, the status of the molten nuclear fuel is unclear. It is not known how the fuel, believed to have partially melted through pressure vessels of the reactors and into containment vessels, has dispersed and how much lies in water.

On Nov. 2, TEPCO said a small-scale recriticality incident–in which nuclear fuel achieves a fission chain reaction–may have taken place at the No. 2 reactor of the power plant.  TEPCO should have been able to coolly handle the detection of xenon, but it failed to do so as it had not properly prepared necessary data.

There are many other unsolved issues, including how to cope with contaminated water said to be accumulating at a rate of 200 to 500 tons a day in underground areas of the reactor buildings. The government and TEPCO must thoroughly solve these issues without being bound by their timetable.

Source: Yomiuri Online

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