Dec 9, 2013
Fukushima’s Legacy Is Just Beginning
Posted on Aug 26, 2013
By Paul Brown, Climate News Network
Britain’s long wait
Tepco, which offered the 40-year timetable, has admitted it does not yet have the technology to achieve it. Radiation levels are so high that for any human to try to tackle the melted-down reactors would be lethal. Robots to carry out the work need to be developed, and meanwhile the reactors must be kept cool and plants kept safe and stable.
One almost forgotten reactor core meltdown that happened in 1957 gives a clue to how long the Japanese problem may persist. This was a fire in a reactor at Windscale in Cumbria in the UK – small by comparison with both Chernobyl and Fukushima.
It was one of the two reactors producing plutonium for the British nuclear weapons programme. It caught fire and part of the core melted. Fifty-six years later, the reactor still has to be constantly monitored and guarded.
The reactor building is among the abandoned relics of Britain’s 1950s nuclear arms race, sitting behind barbed wire at the now renamed Sellafield site.
The Fukushima accident left Japan with three much larger reactor meltdowns. There is a long way to go.
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