Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator of Japan's crippled nuclear plant began pumping highly radioactive water Tuesday from the basement of one of its buildings to a makeshift storage area in a crucial step toward easing the nuclear crisis.
Removing the 25,000 tons of contaminated water that has collected in the basement of a turbine building at Unit 2 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant will help allow access for workers trying to restore vital cooling systems that were knocked out in the March 11 tsunami, according to
At least six months will be needed to achieve a cold shutdown of the reactors, which means bringing core temperatures under 100 degrees, according to TEPCO.
This water-filling method is able to bring about a cooling effect within a short period, TEPCO official Junichi Matsumoto said, adding that the utility determined that filling containment vessels with water would be "the fastest way to cool fuel rods."
Under the timetable, the water-filling operation for the Nos. 1 and 3 reactors requires three months for completion. As for the No. 2 reactor, TEPCO is aiming to finish related work within six to nine months because it is also necessary to repair the damaged pressure suppression chamber,