Prime Minister Noda Declares Step 2 of Roadmap towards Restoration from Fukushima Nuclear Accident under Control (December 22, 2011)
post date : 2011.12.22
【Watch Japan Now vol. 15/FPCJ】
December 22, 2011
Prime Minister Noda Declares Step 2 of Roadmap towards Restoration from Fukushima Nuclear Accident under Control
On December 16, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda held a press conference at his office about the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and declared that the “second step” of the Roadmap towards Restoration from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident had been completed.
The Roadmap announced on April 17 comprises the “first step” intended to cool stably the reactors and the spent fuel pools and to secure facilities to hold (accumulated) water contaminated by radioactive substances, and the “second step” intended to achieve the cold shutdown of reactors, more stable cooling of the fuel pools, improvement of facilities to hold and process contaminated water, and decontamination (reuse) of radioactive water. The “first step” was completed in the middle of July. The cold shutdown of the “second step” has been defined as a condition in which each RPV (reactor pressure vessel) bottom temperature is kept below 100 C and the amount of radioactive substances released from the reactors comes to less than one millisievert per year.
In the press conference, Prime Minister Noda said, “Experts did close experimentation and technically confirmed that cooling water is stably circulating, temperatures at the RPV bottoms and inside the containment vessels are kept under 100 C so that should any trouble happen, the amount of radiation outside the premises can be kept sufficiently low. Today, therefore, I convened a meeting of the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters of the Government as its Chair, and confirmed that the nuclear accident at the plant itself has been settled with a cold shutdown condition achieved.”
Referring to the future course, Mr. Noda expressed his determination, saying “The government will clarify the future roadmap again, and do its utmost to complete the roadmap until the reactors are decommissioned, while taking all possible measures to maintain the safety of Fukushima Daiichi.” He then mentioned decontamination, health care, and compensation as tasks outside the NPP that his government should accomplish thoroughly. Mr. Noda said that as decontamination measures, the government will (1) appropriate more than one trillion yen for the costs for the time being, (2) increase the number of government officials in charge of promoting decontamination work to more than 400 by April next year, and (3) secure more than 30,000 decontamination workers on the spot by the same month.
On December 16, on the completion of the “second step,” the government and TEPCO abolished the “Government-TEPCO Integrated Response Office,” and established a “xxx” to study decommissioning of the Nos. 1 – 4 reactors of the Fukushima Daiichi NPP, with Mr. Yukio Edano, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, and Mr. Goshi Hosono, Minister of State for the Restoration from and Prevention of Nuclear Accident, as joint chairmen.
On December 21, the xxx held its first meeting and decided on the mid- and long-term roadmap towards decommissioning of the Nos. 1 – 4 reactors. The roadmap divides the course through decommissioning into three periods. During the first period, fuels in the spent fuel pools will be removed within, hopefully, two years. During the second period, which the xxx expects will be finished in 10 years, the removal of “fuel debris” including once-melted and then solidified fuels and cladding tubes will be started. The third period covers between the end of the second period and the completion of decommissioning. The xxx expects to finish removing “fuel debris” in 20-25 years, and to complete decommissioning in 30-40 years.
(Copyright 2011 Foreign Press Center/Japan)