One and a half years after the March 11th disaster at Fukushima, workers on-site face immense difficulties in decommissioning work at the crippled nuclear power plant.
The utility now admits that the explosion at Reactor 4 severely compromised the reactor building, and that more work is required to ensure its ability to withstand earthquakes in the future.
The removal of spent fuel from the spent fuel pool is also hampered by the debris found scattered throughout the building, which was also lodged within the spent fuel racks, creating further problems for workers trying to remove them from the decimated building.
The workers have also failed to locate the melted nuclear fuel inside of Units 1, 2, and 3, and have also been unable to find cracks and holes in the vessels which are allowing water to flow in and out of the buildings. The high radiation levels on-site still hinder operations on-site and inside of the reactor buildings.
TEPCO has also admitted that if it does not find new opportunities to secure workers and to lower radiation doses that it will see a critical shortage of workers in the near future.
Offsite, the decontamination projects in 115 municipalities has slowed to a crawl. Many of the residential and commercial structures are still badly damaged from the earthquake, tsunami, and aftershocks, which has limited the decontamination efforts.
High levels of radiation have been detected hundreds of kilometers from the nuclear power plant, collecting in riverbeds, in the ocean, and also marine resources. It is also proposed that some of the high radiation levels found in fish may come from radioactive cesium which has concentrated on the seabed.