The operator of a damaged Japanese nuclear power plant that has been leaking radioactive materials for more than two months said it would be impossible to stabilize the plant by the end of the year as previously planned, a news report said Monday.
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said recent revelations about more extensive damage at the
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station led them to believe that there "will be a major delay to work," dpa quoted the Kyodo News agency as reporting.
The March 11 earthquake and tsunami damaged the plant, and TEPCO confirmed last week that the disaster caused meltdowns in a total of three of the plant's six reactors and likely breaches to the pressure containers housing nuclear fuel.
TEPCO said in April that it planned to move the reactors into a stable, cooled condition within six to nine months.
The delay might also postpone the government's plans for the return of evacuees who had been living near the plant, which is located 250 kilometres north-east of Tokyo.
"Unless we understand the extent of the damage, we don't even know how long that work alone would take," Kyodo quoted a TEPCO official as saying.
Japan's meterological agency, meanwhile, warned of possible landslides in the disaster zone after strong rains. The earthquake and tsunami had loosened the soil, the agency said. The rains were triggered by Typhoon Songda, which weakened Sunday to a tropical storm off south-western Japan and was expected to move east on Monday.
One person was killed and 61 injured by the storm.