Japan official say the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant is close to being stable but will need to remain open for at least 30 years before it can be safely decommissioned and closed.
The announcement comes from a panel of experts who were named by Japan’s Atomic Energy Commission to oversee the decommissioning of the power plant after an earthquake and preceding tsunami damaged the facility earlier this year.
Officials noted in their 30-year estimate that U.S. agents spent more than a decade removing nuclear fuel from Three Mile Island and because of the complex nature of the Fukushima plant the process will take up to three times longer to complete. Officials will not even begin to remove fuel rods until 2021.
It’s not all bad news for the plant, reactors have begun to cool and there is far less radiation leaking when compared to the start of cleanup efforts.
Authorities have noted that there are still radiation “hot spots” being discovered around the Tokyo area and they say the cleanup and decommissioning process will cost approximately $19 billion. Among part of that cleanup process is covering damaged units in airtight polyester while creating a 12-mile exclusion zone around the plant.
Are you surprised to learn that it will take 30-years to clean up Japan’s nuclear mess?