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Fukushima plant 'successfully stabilised', 131 days after tsunami

Naoto Kan has told a parliamentary committee that the Fukushima I power plant should be closed by January.

Smoke rises from the Number 3 reactor at Fukushima I in March, ten days after a tsunami struck the plant.
Smoke rises from the Number 3 reactor at Fukushima I in March, ten days after a tsunami struck the plant.
Image: AP

JAPAN’S PRIME MINISTER has said that efforts to end the crisis at the Fukushima I nuclear power plant are on schedule – and that the plant has now been ‘successfully stabilised’ with no further risk of meltdowns.

Naoto Kan told a parliamentary committee that the situation at the plant, which has seen an ongoing crisis since it was hit by a tsunami following the March 11 earthquake, had seen ‘settlement’ and that authorities would now proceed to the second stage of shutting the plant down.

The fuel tanks at reactors 1, 2, 3 and 4 were now being kept at a fully stable temperature, AFP cited Kan as saying, adding that the entire plant would now be in a safe, ‘cold shutdown’ state by January.

Each of the reactors had seen some form of partial meltdown in the months since the tsunami, but the plant’s operator TEPCO says that the radiation being leaked from the reactors is now about two million times weaker than it was at its peak.

The Japanese government has announced a series of ‘stress tests’ on the country’s other nuclear facilities, to examine whether they could withstand another natural disaster on the scale of March’s earthquake.

More: Fukushima beef shipments banned

Previously: Japan underestimated tsunami risk to nuclear plant, says UN watchdog

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Gavan Reilly

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