Fukushima Nuclear Plant Stabilized
Workers on track for cold shutdown within six months
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2011 7:16 AM CDT
This March 20, 2011 aerial photo made by an unmanned drone and released by AIR PHOTO SERVICE shows the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture, northern Japan.   (AP Photo/AIR PHOTO SERVICE)

(Newser) – Some good news from Japan: The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant is stabilized and a cold shutdown should be achieved within six months. Even so, Tokyo Electric Power Co. warns that final cleanup—which will involve encasing the plant in concrete—could take more than 10 years. Engineers have recently set up systems to cool the damaged reactors and decontaminate radioactive water, the Los Angeles Times reports.

There's still reason for caution: More than 140 beef cattle that were recently shipped to consumers in the nation are suspected of being contaminated with radiation, leading officials to suspend all beef cattle shipments from the region. And the 80,000 evacuated residents will have to wait several more months to find out when they can head back to their homes. "During the time that I've been involved in this effort, we've encountered every kind of difficulty, so I don't think we have room to be optimistic," says a government minister.