After a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11 crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuke plant, the Japanese government has finally conceded it has lost the battle to contain radiation at four of the plant’s reactors and they will be closed down.
Details of what that will entail have yet to be revealed, but according to Bloomberg, Japanese officials are looking at ways of entombing the Fukushima reactors in concrete.
The government hasn’t ruled out pouring concrete over the whole facility as one way to shutting it down, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said at a press conference today in Tokyo.
The dramatic announcement that the four reactors, including a partial meltdown of fuel in the No. 1 reactor building are out of control and will have to be decommissioned was made yesterday by Tsunehisa Katsumata, the chairman of the electric company (TEPCO) operating the nuclear complex.
The reason for the admission of total defeat is that TEPCO knew the battle to keep the fuel rods in the troubled reactors cool could not be won. While workers, who were being paid vast sums of money to brave high radiation levels have averted the threat of a total meltdown by injecting water into the damaged reactors for the past two weeks, “the risk to [them] might be greater than previously thought because melted fuel in the No. 1 reactor building may be causing isolated, uncontrolled nuclear chain reactions, Denis Flory, nuclear safety director for the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA], said at a press conference in Vienna. [via Bloomberg]”
Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said however, there’s no possibility of uncontrolled chain reactions. Still, [via Kyodo News] Secretary Edano said Japan and the IAEA agreed that “they would not rule out the possibility of the situation worsening.”
Radiation levels continue to remain extremely high at the Fukushima plant, with water around the reactors emitting a highly dangerous 1,000 millisieverts per hour. Radioactive iodine rose to 4,385 times the regulated safety limit yesterday from 2,572 times on Tuesday.