Toshiba Corp., which supplied four of Fukushima's six reactors, including two on which General Electric Co. collaborated, submitted a roadmap this past week to the plant's operator for decommissioning the crippled reactors. The study, done with three other companies, projects that it would take about 10 years to remove the fuel rods and the reactors and contain other radioactivity at the site, said Keisuke Omori of Toshiba.
That timeline is far faster than those for other nuclear accidents and contains a big caveat: The reactors must first be stabilized and cooled, goals that have eluded emergency teams struggling with cascading problems in the month since the devastating tsunami damaged their cooling systems. Omori said the extent of damage to the reactors and other problems still need to be assessed.
"Of course decommissioning the four reactors would be more challenging than retiring one from an ordinary operation. We still have a lot to examine," Omori said. He declined to provide details on the costs and the timeframe, citing business confidentiality.
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