New video footage has been released by the operators of Japan’s crippled nuclear power plant, which shows the scale of destruction and workers inside buildings. The Fukushima Dai-ichi complex was badly damaged during the earthquake and tsunami in March. Its operator, TEPCO, has been struggling to restore critical cooling systems knocked out by the disaster. The video released shows water pumping equipment being used at the plant and operators dressed in protective suits surveying the damage inside some of the buildings. Despite fresh data showing worse-than-expected damage inside three reactors, TEPCO still aims to bring the radiation-leaking plant to a stable cold shutdown within six to nine months, as originally planned. Recently repaired gauges show that it is likely that fuel rods in Unit 1 almost totally melted and fell to the bottom of the pressure vessel, in the hours after the quake and tsunami.
Fukushima plant out of control?
The situation at the Fukushima plant is currently “out of control”, says Professor Christopher Busby from the European Committee on Radiation Risks, who gave his insight into the recent developments in Japan.
“Of course, it’s time for the Japanese government to take control. But having said that, it’s very hard to know how you could take control of the situation. The situation is essentially out of control,”
“I believe personally that it’s a global problem – and not the Japanese government’s problem only,” he added.
Earlier on Tuesday, Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan said that his government was determined to “take responsibility” for Japan’s crippled nuclear plant “right to the end” as the operator of the plant said a revised roadmap to resolve the crisis would stick with the existing timeline.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Vice President Sakae Muto said the operator would maintain the revised plan but will add new tasks, such as boosting preparedness for tsunamis and improving conditions for workers.
Reports say there are signs that two further reactors, Nos. 2 and 3, at Japan’s troubled Fukushima plant may have gone into meltdown. Earlier it was confirmed that similar problems had occurred at the number one reactor during the first 16 hours following the plant’s being hit by the earthquake and tsunami.