The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been shut down after a major meltdown
Power plant operators and engineers have been working to restore power to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which has been the subject of a prolonged lockdown since March 19, when it was damaged by a tsunami.
The operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), said on Friday that its reactor core had been returned to the reactor building and that its fuel rods were safe.
But a report on Friday from the Institute of Nuclear Safety in Germany said that a series of faults, including cracks in the reactor vessel, could have led to the meltdown.
It said TEPCO was “confident” that the plant would be able to resume operation, but that the operator was “still working hard” to ensure that the containment structure would be safe.
“We do not believe that there will be a meltdown,” the institute’s chief, Jens-Christian Bröder, said.
The institute’s report comes as a separate report from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has suggested that a breach of the reactor containment system could have been a key factor in the disaster, which killed 19 people and damaged or destroyed around 400,000 homes.
The report says the breach happened on March 6, after the operator had shut down the nuclear reactor core for safety reasons.
The accident triggered a tsunami that hit Fukushima in March 2011, causing the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.
TEPCA said it has made preparations to resume operations.
TEAPEC said on its website that the safety of its fuel is 100% safe.
The company has already spent about $2bn on the repairs to the plant and says it expects to start operating again on March 27.
The Japanese government has pledged to provide about $4.3bn to the rescue effort, which could be partially funded by the countrys economy.
A group of six US states have set aside $3bn each for the rescue and compensation.
In a statement on Friday, Japan’s Environment Ministry said it would work to provide funds for the reconstruction of the Fukushima nuclear plant.
The government said it hoped that all necessary measures would be taken to ensure the safety and security of the public, and the people of Japan, as well as to improve the safety, security and health of the people.
It also said that it will work to help the government of Japan to rebuild the nuclear plant in a safe and environmentally friendly way.