28 Oct '11, 7pm

Shutdown of Fukushima Reactors Is Ahead of Schedule

Shutdown of Fukushima Reactors Is Ahead of Schedule

Editor's Note: This is part of the IEEE Spectrum special report: Fukushima and the Future of Nuclear Power . This past April, when the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) jointly unveiled their plan to bring the damaged reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant to a cold shutdown and gain control of the release of radioactive materials, they set a tentative completion date for mid-January 2012. And "tentative" had to be the operative word, for the obstacles TEPCO faced—and to some extent still does face—are challenging in the extreme. They include: Fuel rod meltdowns in reactors 1, 2, and 3 due to loss of cooling systems following the 11 March earthquake and tsunami; Severe damage to the upper levels of reactor buildings 1, 3, and 4 and slight damage to building 2, stemming from hydrogen explosions; High levels of radiation and contaminate...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/nuclear/shutdown-of-fukus...

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