Tokyo Electric’s Bright Idea

Posted by By at 13 April, at 14 : 27 PM Print

If circumstances at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant were not so dire, one could have a comedic field day with Tokyo Electric Power Company [TEPCO] latest pronouncement. TEPCO, the operator of Fukushima, says it is formulating a plan to end Japan’s nuclear crisis.

TEPCO’s statement comes more than a month after an earthquake and tsunami tore open the nuclear complex like a can of baked beans. In the days and weeks since, radiation has been leaking into the soil, and water. It has contaminated vegetables, milk, tap water and seafood.

How many people will end up with chronic health problems, or die is for now incalculable.

The nuclear safety agency said the latest tests for radiation in seawater near the plant is 23 times above the legal limit.

Inside the complex, work continues on bailing out radioactive water from one of the six reactors, once that job is complete engineers will have the first shot at repairing and restarting a cooling system. That would be a significant step in regaining control of Fukushima.

TEPCO President Masataka Shimizu speaking at a news conference explained what step his company is taking to resolve the disaster, which is now considered the world’s worst nuclear accident alongside the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl.

“As instructed by Prime Minister (Naoto) Kan we are working out the specific details on how to handle the situation, so they can be disclosed as soon as possible.”

Shimizu has been absent from public view for weeks, TEPCO cited he was suffering from undisclosed health problems and was recovering in a hospital. He declined to talk about the protests and public calls for his resignation. Instead, he focused his words on drafting what he described as a blueprint for recovery.

“We are making the utmost effort to bring the reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi to a cold shutdown and halt the spread of radiation.”

The estimated cost of damage from the March 11 tsunami and earthquake has ballooned to $300 billion. TEPCO said it is working on a compensation plan.

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