It may take 40 more years to decommission the Fukushima power plant, said a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency recently. The damage, they say, is so complex, that it’s not possible to predict how long the cleanup may last, but in either scenario it won’t take less than 30 to 40 years.
The main issue with the cleanup is, curiously, the lack of technology to locate and remove melted nuclear fuel. Another issue is that the reactors still have to be kept cool for the plant to be stable – all of these slowing the cleaning process.
Rats infiltrated the plant earlier this month and short-circuited a switchboard, which led to a 30-hour interruption of the cooling system that’s keeping the former power plant afloat.
The IAEA team is being led by Juan Carlos Lentijo, who said that “It is expectable in such a complex site, additional incidents will occur as it happened in the nuclear plants under normal operations. It is important to have a very good capability to identify as promptly as possible failures and to establish compensatory measures.”
The same scenario could happen anywhere on the globe in cataclysmic circumstances. That’s why it’s important for governments that have nuclear power plants in their backyard to properly take care of them and their security. Otherwise, the unwanted may happen again.