Japan May Declare Control of Reactors, Over Serious Doubts

TOKYO — Nine months after the devastating earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, causing a meltdown at three units, the Tokyo government is expected to declare soon that it has finally regained control of the plant’s overheating reactors.

On Friday, a disaster-response task force headed by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will vote on whether to announce that the plant’s three damaged reactors have been put into the equivalent of a “cold shutdown,” a technical term normally used to describe intact reactors with fuel cores that are in a safe and stable condition. Experts say that if it does announce a shutdown, as many expect, it will simply reflect the government’s effort to fulfill a pledge to restore the plant’s cooling system by year’s end and, according to some experts, not the true situation.

If the task force declares a cold shutdown, the next step will be moving the spent fuel rods in nearby cooling pools to more secure storage, and eventually opening the reactors themselves.


Reactor 4 is falling apart

The wall of the south side is falling apart at reactor 4.

Reactor 4 is in the most serious situation. It is assumed that if another aftershock hits, it will drop the spent fuel pool hung in the building.

On 12/2/2011 (JST), something like “fire” was observed beside reactor 4.

It was confirmed that the wall of reactor 4 was lost on the south side. At least since 12/5/2011, the wall is missing.