Japan media question containment of nuclear accident

December 17, 2011 08:22

TOKYO - Japanese media simmered with doubts on Saturday about a government announcement that the world's worst nuclear accident in 25 years had been contained with the tsunami-stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant in a state of cold shutdown.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced on Friday the cold shutdown meant the accident itself had been contained, though he added that the government faced a long and hard task in cleaning up radiation and dismantling the plant, which may take up to 40 years.

The plant, 240 km northeast of Tokyo, was wrecked by towering tsunami waves, triggered by a 9 magnitude earthquake on March 11, which knocked out its cooling systems, triggering meltdowns and mass evacuations.

A cold shutdown is when water used to cool nuclear fuel rods stays below boiling point, preventing the fuel from reheating.

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