Tokyo Electric Power Co., which runs the plant, says it will achieve a "cold shutdown" by the end of the year –
A preliminary government report released this month predicted it will take 30 years or more to safely decommission Fukushima Dai-ichi. Like Chernobyl, it will probably be encased in a concrete and steel "sarcophagus."
According to a study led by Andreas Stohl the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, twice as much radioactive cesium-137 – a cancer-causing agent – was pumped into the atmosphere than Japan had announced, reaching 40 percent of the total from Chernobyl. The French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety found that 30 times more cesium-137 was released into the Pacific than the plant's owner has owned up to.
To our friends living in Japan, our hearts go out to you for this protracted disaster. At least the prospect of cold shutdown withing two months is heartening.
My prefecture gets the Fukushima wind during Winter. Let's hope the radiation levels have stopped being Godzilla levels... kind of worried about how it might affect vegetation in the region. :( Air-wise, it shouldn't be too bad, so long as we pay attention to wind direction and don't stay outside too much.
Three recently published academic studies show that while direct radiation exposure of Fukushima residents isn’t as high as was initially feared, soils across northeastern Japan are contaminated and could affect public health for decades through the produce farmed there. The research, combined with a map of soil radiation—which was based on measurements made during helicopter flights and released by Japan's science ministry—shows substantial soil contamination in the prefectures of Fukushima and its neighbors: Miyagi and Iwate to the north, Ibaraki and Chiba to the south, and Tochigi and Gunma to the southwest.
In the months since ... March 11 ..., radioactive particles have made their way into vegetables, beef, fish and the nation’s staple, rice. Readings have been reported voluntarily by producers, as well as concerned consumers, since the country has no mandatory radiation testing for most foods.
... airborne cesium particles may have entered the formula at a factory in Saitama, north of Tokyo. ... the company had been diligent in checking radiation levels in water, but had not taken enough care to filter for airborne radioactivity.