High radiation levels to delay covering of Japanese reactors
High levels of radiation will prevent the operator of a damaged nuclear plant from covering troubled reactor buildings with special sheets o stop radiation leakage, a news report said Wednesday.
The radiation-shielding sheets are expected to be installed in September "at the earliest" because of high-level radioactivity at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, Kyodo News reported, citing unnamed government sources.
The plant was crippled by the March 11 magnitude-9 earthquake and ensuing tsunami. Its power was knocked out and key cooling systems failed, leading to fires, explosions and radiation leaks, DPA reported.
A major contractor commissioned to examine the measure said construction work would not begin until June, the sources said.
Workers need to wait until radiation levels drop at the site, where hydrogen explosions have blown away the roofs and upper walls of three reactor buildings, the sources told Kyodo.
It would cost 80 billion yen (937 million dollars) to build framed structures around four reactor buildings and wrap them with special sheets.
Some experts were sceptical about the feasibility of the measure as the step would have only limited effects in blocking the release of radioactive substances.