Crews ‘facing 100-year battle’ at Fukushima
By David Mark
Fri Apr 1, 2011
A nuclear expert has warned that it might be 100 years before melting fuel rods can be safely removed from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant.
The warning came as levels of radioactive iodine flushed into the sea near the plant spiked to a new high and the Wall Street Journal said it had obtained disaster response blueprints which said the plant’s operators were woefully unprepared for the scale of the disaster.
Water is still being poured into the damaged reactors to cool melting fuel rods.
But one expert says the radiation leaks will be ongoing and it could take 50 to 100 years before the nuclear fuel rods have completely cooled and been removed.
“As the water leaks out, you keep on pouring water in, so this leak will go on for ever,” said Dr John Price, a former member of the Safety Policy Unit at the UK’s National Nuclear Corporation.
“There has to be some way of dealing with it. The water is connecting in tunnels and concrete-lined pits at the moment and the question is whether they can pump it back.
“The final thing is that the reactors will have to be closed and the fuel removed, and that is 50 to 100 years away.