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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Fukushima cleanup could drag on for decades



[snip]
There's an analogy that removing these rods is like removing a cigarette from a crushed pack.
"Take that analogy," TEPCO engineer Masayuki Ono said in Japanese, "and imagine that the cigarette in that box is lit."
Ono said they have removed 15 percent of the fuel from Reactor 4. But it will be far more difficult to retrieve fuel from the other three reactors that melted down. Those are so radioactive that the technology to dismantle them does not exist yet.
TEPCO injects hundreds of tons of water daily into the reactors to keep them cool. But groundwater is pouring into the damaged reactors and has to be pumped out and stored.
They can't build these tanks fast enough -- an additional 400 tons of contaminated water needs to be stored every day. That's as much water as the average American household uses in a year.
At the end of the tour, the CBS crew was checked for radiation exposure. In four hours, correspondent Seth Doane received the equivalent of less than a chest X-ray.
The 24-hour-a-day cleanup operation is just beginning. It could cost upwards of $100 billion and take up to 40 years to complete.
[end snip]
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