Japan faces challenges in dismantling damaged nuclear plant

09/15/2011 | Wall Street Journal, The

Japan may need more than a decade to safely decommission the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, according to the country's Atomic Energy Commission. The U.S. spent five years removing the used fuel from one reactor at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant after a partial meltdown in 1979, said Katsuichiro Hijikata, chief of Tokyo Electric Power's Nuclear Seismic Engineering Center. "It would likely take longer at the Fukushima plant, given that it has three damaged reactors as opposed to just one at the TMI plant, and that the extent of the damage is far more serious," he added.

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