The US has ‘no plan’ to shut down the nuclear reactors at Fukushima, Japan’s government says
TEPCO says the US is “no plan” to shut the reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
The utility has been under pressure from opposition lawmakers and public opinion to shut its reactors down for months as it grapples with a crippling nuclear crisis and the fallout from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
But some experts have raised doubts that TEPCI’s announcement will convince lawmakers to abandon their opposition to the plant. “
There is no plan for shutting down the reactors in the foreseeable future,” it added.
But some experts have raised doubts that TEPCI’s announcement will convince lawmakers to abandon their opposition to the plant.
“The government has been saying that it’s on the verge of shutting down its reactors, but they have been unable to do so because the opposition parties have been saying they’ll shut down [the reactors] if the government allows it,” said Yoshinori Nakamura, a professor at Kyoto University who studies nuclear safety issues.
“If the government is not going to shut them down, then what are the alternatives?”
On Tuesday, the US State Department warned TEPCOs to consider an immediate shutdown to avoid a further risk to public health.
“While TEPCOS has made its position clear that it is not taking a position on the merits of the case for a shutdown, it is still required to ensure that the plant is not adversely affected,” the department said in its notice.
“At this time, TEPAO has a limited number of emergency and critical backup plans available to them, and they are limited in scope, with limited support to mitigate the impacts of a partial shutdown.”
The US State Departement has already warned that it will withhold funding for TEPCs reactors until it can provide assurances that the safety and security of the facilities are not jeopardised.
The agency has previously said it would suspend all nuclear power plants in the US if the plants cannot be shut down within the next six months.
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has also said that it would not be issuing any orders on the matter, although the agency said on Tuesday it is looking into whether to issue the orders in the coming days.
“Based on the current situation, the NRC will continue to work with the utility on its safety requirements, including with regard to nuclear reactors and related activities, and we will provide further information as needed,” a spokesman said in an email to CNN.
“NRC is working with TEPCOM and TEPCS on the emergency plans.
NRC is committed to protecting the safety of our reactors and the environment,” the spokesman added.
Japan’s nuclear power companies have also been struggling with the fallout of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and radioactive leaks that have plagued the country’s crippled Fukushima plant for months.
Since TEPCAs Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Dai-ichi 2 reactors were damaged in the March 11, 2011 earthquake , the plants have been at the centre of an emergency response.
TEPCo, the utility that owns both reactors, has been accused of a series of safety violations.
On Monday, TEPROs Daiichi 2 and Daiichi 3 reactors experienced severe power shortages and the utility said it was looking into a number of safety measures.
In December, TEPCO agreed to buy a US company, GE Hitachi Nuclear Solutions, to supply the utilities with backup power.
In February, TEPPO agreed to pay $1.3 billion to a US nuclear contractor to provide power for the reactors for the next two years.