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Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant opened to reporters

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Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant opened to reporters Empty Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant opened to reporters

Post by Mr007 on Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:01 am

A driver returning from the Fukushima plant is given a radiation check The 3,000 people working to stabilise the Fukushima plant are checked for radiation every time they leave
Continue reading the main story
Japan quake

* Six months on: Survivor's story
* Evacuees: Starting again
* New PM visits nuclear plant
* Japan eases alert near Fukushima

Reporters have been allowed inside the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan for the first time since it was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in March.

The journalists toured the plant wearing full protective clothing.

A reporter from the Associated Press described seeing "twisted and overturned trucks, crumbling reactor buildings and piles of rubble virtually untouched since the wave struck".

Three reactors melted down after the tsunami wrecked their cooling systems.

The authorities have previously rejected requests by journalists to visit the plant, on the grounds that radiation levels were too high and it could hamper operations to tackle the crisis.

This tour was designed to show that the situation at the plant is gradually becoming more stable.

The reporters were accompanied by the government minister in charge of the clean-up operation, Goshi Hosono.

They arrived at Fukushima on Friday and were shown a nearby football-training complex which is now being used as a base for the clean-up operation.

They were also able to get a closer view of the outside of some of the damaged reactors.

Large quantities of radioactive material leaked into the surrounding area following the disaster and much of the countryside around the plant is sealed-off.

The authorities are hoping to complete a "cold shutdown" of the damaged reactors by the end of the year. But it could take decades to completely decommission the plant.

Of the six reactors at Fukushima, four were badly damaged by the tsunami.

The nuclear fuel rods in reactors one, two and three melted down due to a failure of the cooling systems, causing damage to their containment structures.

There were also explosions caused by a build-up of hydrogen gas.

Completing the process of stabilising these reactors remains the main task at the plant, but the authorities have also been trying to tackle the accumulation of highly contaminated waste water in the reactor buildings.

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