July 20, 2011
The crippled reactors at Japan’s tsunami-hit nuclear power plant have reached stability, more than four months since the disaster.
The plant is now on track for a cold shutdown within six months, the government and plant operator said Tuesday (local time).
Workers have toiled in hot and harsh conditions to stabilise the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami destroyed reactor cooling systems, triggering partial meltdowns of the reactors and making the disaster the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.
The assessment of reactor stability was based on several milestones: temperatures at the bottom of reactor pressure vessels are no longer climbing, a makeshift system to process contaminated water works properly after initial problems and nitrogen injections are helping prevent more explosions.
Radiation around the plant has shown a “sufficient decrease” from peak levels measured soon after the disaster, according to the report released by the government and Tepco, the plant’s operator.