News & AnalysisDevastation in Japan

Fukushima Cleanup Will Be Drawn Out and Costly

Science  25 Mar 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6024, pp. 1507
DOI: 10.1126/science.331.6024.1507

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Summary

Once the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant eases, authorities will begin plotting the endgame: how to dismantle the contaminated complex and dispose of its nuclear fuel. They are unlikely to have to resort to the desperate measures taken at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, where a reactor exploded and burned 25 years ago. Instead, the Fukushima operation is more likely to resemble the protracted cleanup at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Pennsylvania, where one reactor experienced a partial meltdown in 1979.

  • * With reporting by Dennis Normile.