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Cooling systems, contaminated water major concerns after Fukushima's cold shutdown

(Xinhua)

09:54, December 20, 2011

TOKYO, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese minister in charge of the nuclear power said Monday the possibilities of a failed cooling systems and leaking contaminated water were the two major concerns for the Japanese government after it declared the reactors are stabilized at the troubled Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant.

"The biggest problem we have in mind is the possibility that we will not be able to continue with the cooling system," Hosono told a press conference in the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in downtown Tokyo.

The Japanese government announced Friday that the damaged reactors at the crippled plant had reached a state known as "cold shutdown", about nine months after a massive earthquake triggered a tsunami that knocked out the plant's vital cooling systems causing the reactors to meltdown and spark a nuclear crisis on a level unseen globally for 25-years.

Hosono said as long as the authorities could make sure the vital circulating water cooling system was working, there was basically no possibility of a major accident. He went on to say that the government and the operator of the crippled plant would make sure there was stable supply of water circulating for the cooling system.

Another risk that could bring a headache to the Japanese government was the possibility of contaminated water leaking, according to the minister. The issue is less risky because even though the contaminated water leaked, this would not necessarily lead to a major accident.

However, we felt we must ensure contaminated water leakage was prevented, Hosono said.

Besides the leakage issue, the handling of the increasing radioactive water weighs on the operator of the troubled plant. Tokyo Electric Power Co. also known as TEPCO, said earlier in the month that the plant was likely to reach its maximum storage capacity of 155,000 tons by around March next year due to massive inflows of groundwater and as such was mulling the idea of once again releasing radioactive water into the sea.

TEPCO said it would conduct a detailed environmental assessment and submit it to the government with the aim of discharging only contaminants that would have the least effect on the environment.

 
 
 
 
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