Japan May Declare Control of Reactors, Over Serious Doubts
Published: December 14, 2011
On Friday, a disaster-response task force headed by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will vote on whether to announce that the plant’s three damaged reactors have been put into the equivalent of a “cold shutdown,” a technical term normally used to describe intact reactors with fuel cores that are in a safe and stable condition. Experts say that if it does announce a shutdown, as many expect, it will simply reflect the government’s effort to fulfill a pledge to restore the plant’s cooling system by year’s end and, according to some experts, not the true situation.
If the task force declares a cold shutdown, the next step will be moving the spent fuel rods in nearby cooling pools to more secure storage, and eventually opening the reactors themselves......