[ RadSafe ] Fwd: [New post] There’s no end to Fukushima crisis while melted fuel remains

Roger Helbig rwhelbig at gmail.com
Sun Jul 24 03:27:28 CDT 2016

Please, share with your Japanese, Russian and Ukranian  colleagues -
this was page 1 editorial pushing sarcophagus for Fukushima


There’s no end to Fukushima crisis while melted fuel remains

Editorial staff at the newspaper - no byline

A massive concrete structure encases the wrecked No. 4 reactor at the
Chernobyl nuclear power plant, site of the catastrophic 1986 accident.

Dubbed the "sarcophagus," it was erected to contain the fuel that
could not be extracted from the crippled reactor.

I never expected this word ("sekkan" in Japanese) to crop up in
connection with the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Local governments raised objections to the use of this word in a
report compiled by a government organ that supports the
decommissioning of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

While the report discusses the extraction of melted fuel as a
requirement, it is written in such a way as to suggest that the
construction of a sarcophagus is an option that should not be
dismissed out of hand.

This outraged the governor of Fukushima, Masao Uchibori, who lashed
out, "Containing (the melted fuel) in a sarcophagus spells giving up
hope for post-disaster reconstruction and for returning home."

The government organ has since deleted the word from the report,
admitting that it was misleading and that constructing a sarcophagus
is not under consideration.

The report lacked any consideration for the feelings of local
citizens. But more to the point, just deleting the word does not
settle this case.

Even though five years have passed since the disaster, nothing has
been decided yet on how to extract the melted fuel. How, then, can
anyone guarantee that the fuel will never be "entombed"?

I am reminded anew of the sheer difficulty of decommissioning nuclear
reactors. The Fukushima edition of The Asahi Shimbun runs a weekly
report on the work being done at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

The report portrays the harsh realities at the site, such as leaks of
contaminated water and accidents involving workers. Efforts to
decommission the crippled reactors continue day after day, but the
task is expected to take several decades.

Elsewhere in Japan, the rule that requires nuclear reactors to be
decommissioned after 40 years is becoming toothless, and preparations
are proceeding steadily for restarting reactors that have remained

"Normalcy" appears to be returning, but there is a huge gap between
that and the unending hardships in the disaster-affected areas.


dunrenard | July 23, 2016 at 9:00 pm | Tags: Fukushima, Fukushima
Daiichi, Sarcophagus | Categories: Fukushima 2016 | URL:


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