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Reactor decommissioning plan cites ‘sarcophagus’



Reactor decommissioning plan cites ‘sarcophagus’

The government body charged with decommissioning the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says it remains committed to removing the fuel but sealing off the buildings that house them could be an option.

The Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation issued its latest report Wednesday on its plan.

It says 2 methods will be used to remove molten fuel depending on the condition of the reactors.

One entails filling the containment vessels with water to shield workers from radiation. The second does not use water.

The new plan also introduces the option of creating a “sarcophagus” to seal off the buildings with the nuclear fuel inside.

This method was used at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine.

The plan favors removing the nuclear fuel because of the long-term safety issues involved with a sarcophagus. It urges a flexible review of all available options.

It also notes the importance of addressing long-term public concerns about the plan.

The government and the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, plan to decide by the middle of next year how to remove the fuel from the reactors. They hope to begin work at one of them by 2021.

Fukushima mayors react to decommission plan

Reacting to the new plan, the heads of municipalities around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have urged the government to stick to its promise regarding nuclear waste disposal.

The mayor of the city of Minamisoma, Katsunobu Sakurai, said the government and TEPCO must be made to abide by their initial pledge to remove the fuel from Fukushima Prefecture. Until this is done, he said, the evacuees won’t feel that it’s safe to return home.

He warned against using the word “sarcophagus” lightly. He said its mention only points out the inadequacy of decommissioning technology.

The mayor of the town of Namie, Tamotsu Baba, said a sarcophagus should not be considered because engineers are hard at work figuring out ways to remove the fuel.

He said all they can do is to have faith that the initial pledge will be kept, even if it takes 30 or 40 years to remove the fuel.

The mayor of the town of Okuma, Toshitsuna Watanabe, also urged the government and the utility to stick to their disposal promise.


July 13, 2016 - Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , ,

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