TEPCO To Build Concrete Sarcophagus Over Fukushima Reactor, Admits Construction Will Take SEVERAL YEARS

Japan: Tepco to build sarcophagus over Fukushima reactor (Telegraph, June 16, 2011):

The operator of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant has announced plans to construct a shroud over one of the reactor buildings, a stop-gap measure until a more permanent solution can be found, such as entombing the facility in concrete.

A similar concrete sarcophagus was built over the remains of the reactors at the Chernobyl power plant after that facility was destroyed in an accident in April 1986.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. will start the construction of a rigid steel frame over the No. 1 reactor on June 27, Yoshikazu Nagai, a spokesman for the company, said.

Tepco will use the operation to test the construction methods and effectiveness of the shroud but plans to build similar covers over the No. 3 and No. 4 reactor buildings, which were also damaged by explosions after the tsunami.

Eventually, Tepco plans to erect a concrete structure around the reactors, although it admits that will take several years to achieve.

Company officials admit they are not sure how effective the temporary cover may be in limiting emissions of radiation from the reactors and spent fuel pools, but it will at least prevent more rainwater entering the buildings and becoming contaminated with radiation, they said.

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