TOKYO (TR) – The Japanese government may be getting ready to declare the No. 3 reactor at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant stable, the Associated Press said, citing government officials.
According to the officials, the government may hold a news conference tomorrow to announce the end of its second phase in decommissioning the reactor damaged by the March 11, earthquake and tsunami, the AP reported. The announcement is expected to fall short of declaring complete “cold shutdown,” the state the government hoped to reach by year’s end, and declare cold shutdown with “conditions” instead, according to the news agency.
TEPCO cannot declare cold shutdown because it has no way of measuring the temperatures of the melted fuel. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Friday temperatures inside the reactor were hovering below the boiling point, a key milestone on the road to declaring complete “cold shutdown.”
Some experts are warning against falling into a false sense of security after the government makes its announcement because it will take 30 years to decommission the plant, which is still leaking radiation and remains vulnerable to further earthquakes. “TEPCO and the government are anxious to bring a certain closure to the crisis. It would be a problem if the announcement gives an impression that the plant has received an official safety certificate,” the AP cited Kazuhiko Kudo, a nuclear physicist at Kyushu University as saying.