After five weeks of struggling to avoid a total meltdown at the quake- and tsunami-battered Fukushima nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. has announced that it could be nine months before it is able to cool damaged reactors completely.

Meantime, it remains unclear when local evacuees will be able to return home, and concerns over new and accelerating leaks are escalating as radiation levels in the nearby sea rose last Friday to 6,500 times the legal limit—nearly six times the amount measured just a day before. — ARK

BBC:

Radiation levels in the sea near reactor 2 rose to 6,500 times the legal limit on Friday, up from 1,100 times a day earlier, Tepco has said, raising fears of fresh radiation leaks.

Tsunehisa Katsumata, the chairman of Tepco, Asia’s largest utility, told a news conference in Tokyo on Sunday they would need up to nine months to bring the power plant to ”cold shutdown”.

He said the plan would allow the tens of thousands of families evacuated from the area around the facility to return home as soon as possible.

“We sincerely apologise for causing troubles,” Mr Katsumata said. “We are doing our utmost to prevent the crisis from further worsening.”

Read more

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface.  We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig