Japan has admitted it will take up to 40 years to fully decommission the disaster-hit Fukushima nuclear plant.
The government has unveiled a long-term road-map for the huge and costly clean-up. It comes after last week’s announcement that the crippled compound had, at last, been stabilised, reaching a state of cold shutdown.
Telling reporters that decommissioning would take 30 to 40 years, Trade Minister Yukio Edano said that safety at the plant would be ensured. The timescale, should not, he added, have a direct bearing on when evacuees will be allowed home.
Nine months ago, Fukushima was hit by the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. Meltdowns, radiation leaks and mass evacuations all followed the disaster, triggered by a big earthquake and a towering tsunami.
Around 80,000 people were evacuated from within a 20 kilometre radius of the plant soon afterwards.
But some of them may be allowed back as early as next spring now that the cold shutdown has been declared.