Japanese Nuclear Safety Panelists Express Concern Over Stability of Fukushima Reactors

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At a meeting of the Nuclear Safety Commission on Monday, some participants pointed out that the reactors have yet to reach a stable state, and that possibilities of fresh problems remain.

Others called on the utility to monitor the durability of the equipment and facilities it is using to manage the disaster. But the members ultimately approved the safety measures planned by TEPCO.

After the decision, commission chief Haruki Madarame said the utility should implement the measures as soon as possible, as it is difficult to accurately predict what may yet happen in the damaged reactors.

The Japanese government is expected to declare later this week that a state of cold shutdown has been achieved for all the plant’s reactors.  The cold shutdown is hotly contested, even more so after Japan‘s Environment Ministry says it will delay the start of full decontamination work for no-entry zones and government-designated evacuation zones in Fukushima Prefecture until late March.

The Environment Ministry had said it would start decontamination work for these areas in January or later. However, it revealed on Sunday that full decontamination efforts for houses and farmland will begin in late March.

A law taking effect next month requires the state to decontaminate areas with high radiation levels. The restricted areas were designated after the March accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The government is now conducting a model project to seek effective ways to clean up the contaminated areas.

Regarding areas with annual radiation far above 20 millisieverts, the ministry said it will only start decontamination after launching a new model project to decide ways to do so and ensure the safety of workers.

Source: NHK

Source: NHK

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