Timetable revised for nuke cleanup
April 22, 2013 10:10 AM

TOKYO (AP) — A U.N. nuclear watchdog team said Japan may need longer than the projected 40 years to decommission its tsunami-crippled nuclear plant and urged its operator to improve plant stability.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency team, Juan Carlos Lentijo, said today that damage at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant is so complex that it is “impossible” to predict how long the cleanup may last.

The government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. have predicted the cleanup would take up to 40 years. They still have to develop technology and equipment that can operate under fatally high radiation levels to locate and remove melted fuel.

The reactors must be kept cool and the plant must stay safe and stable, and those efforts to ensure safety could slow the process down.

The plant still runs on makeshift equipment and frequently suffers glitches.

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