Japan to Shut Down Reactors at Fukushima Nuclear PlantWorld | March 30, 2011, Wednesday // 12:44| views
A handout made available by the Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency on 25 March 2011 shows the control room of the second reactor of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi (No. 1) atomic power plant. EPA/BGNES
Japan is planning to decommission four reactors of the quake-hit Fukushima nuclear plant, the operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) stated Wednesday.
The announcement comes after three weeks of failed attempts to bring reactors 1-4 under control. Locals would be consulted on reactors 5 and 6, which were shut down safely, the BBC reported.
Earlier on Wednesday, it was reported that the water near reactor 1 of Fukushima has been found to contain radioactive iodine at 3355 times the legal limit.
Japanese experts are considering whether to cover the reactor buildings at the plant with a special material to stop the spread of the radioactive substances, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said.
The government has ordered nuclear plant operators to start implementing new safety measures immediately.
The steps have to be completed by the end of April. They include preparing back-up power in case of loss of power supply, and having fire trucks ready at all times to intervene and ensure the maintenance of cooling systems for the reactors and the pools of used fuel.
According to the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Banri Kaieda, this did not mean that nuclear plant operations should be halted.
Tepco's president, Masataka Shimizu, has been hospitalized and is treated for high blood pressure and dizziness.
The company's chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata admitted that Tepco had not been able to cool the reactors, and pledged maximum efforts to stabilize them.
He added that reactors 1-4 will eventually have to be shut down for good.
Katsumata noted that his company was preparing to compensate those suffering damage caused by the radiation leaks.
Japan's PM Naoto Kan has stated that the country is on "maximum alert".
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