Japan poised to decommission damaged nuclear power plant

08:51, April 01, 2011      

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) is welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan prior to their talks at Kan's official residence in Tokyo March 31, 2011. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Japan has voiced intentions to decommission a severely damaged nuclear power plant whose continued radioactive leaks have kept thrown the country into an unrelenting crisis since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami struck.

Four of the six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant suffered extensive damage in the disaster.

Units 1, 2 and 3 are believed to have experienced a partial meltdown, and Unit 4 has seen its spent fuel rods directly exposed to the air, a troublesome scenario that has called forth a worldwide reflection on nuclear safety.

Given the grave picture, the crippled nuclear power plant must be scrapped, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Thursday, a day after Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the Fukushima plant was highly likely to be decommissioned.

Edano said at a news conference Wednesday that he believed that all the six reactors at the nuclear facility in northeastern Japan should be shut down for the best interests of the Japanese public.

At a separate news conference on Wednesday, Tsunehisa Katsumata, chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant, said the company plans to deactivate at least four of the six reactors.

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