Title: Fukushima plant situation ‘volatile,’ a year after cold shutdown declared
Source: AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
Author: NAOYA KON
Date: December 18, 2012
Workers are nowhere close to determining the state of melted fuel at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, a year after the government declared the damaged reactors were in a “cold shutdown” state.
[...] quake-induced collapses of plant facilities remain a threat.
[...] “Workers have been obliged to respond with highly stopgap measures,” [NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka] said. “Many devices, such as a purifier for radioactive water, have been installed with no time for sufficient design considerations and safety screenings.
“The situation surrounding the decommissioning process is volatile, so there is a need for constant reviews in securing safety.”
[...] TEPCO cannot determine the state of the melted fuel because cameras can only be inserted for a limited time period in the extremely hazardous environment.
[...] Fumiya Tanabe, a former chief research scientist at the now-defunct Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, said persistent danger surrounds the plant’s reactors.
“Despite the (officially declared) cold shutdowns of the reactors, the cooling functions have been maintained there with no knowledge of where the melted fuel lies and in what state,” Tanabe said. “There is a risk of unforeseen circumstances arising if another major earthquake hits.”
See also: Japan Nuclear Expert: Melted fuel may have gone through cement floor and into ground under Fukushima reactors -- I don't believe Tepco's claim for one second -- Where in the world is it? (VIDEO)
Published: December 18th, 2012 at 9:24 am ET