"Japan Says 30-40 Years To Scrap Fukushima Plant"

"Decommissioning Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will take three or four decades, Japan's government said on Wednesday as it unveiled plans for the next phase of a huge and costly cleanup of the tsunami-wrecked complex."

"The plant, 240 km (150 miles) northeast of Tokyo, was destroyed on March 11 by a huge earthquake and a towering tsunami which knocked out its cooling systems, triggering meltdowns, radiation leaks and mass evacuations.

After months of efforts the government said last week that the reactors, in operation since the 1970s, were in a state of cold shutdown, signaling it was ready to move to a longer-term phase to eventually decommission the plant.

In the next cleanup "road map" revealed on Wednesday, removal of spent fuel from the facility will begin within the next two years, the government said, with removal of melted fuel debris from the damaged reactors starting within 10 years."

Shinichi Saoshiro reports for Reuters December 22, 2011.

SEE ALSO:

"Japan Says Decommissioning Damaged Reactors Could Take 40 Years" (New York Times)

Source: Reuters, 12/22/2011