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'Stone coffin' eyed for decommissioning Fukushima plant: report

The government-funded Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp. (NDF) eyes an option of covering the disaster stricken Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant with concrete in the future as in the Chernobyl disaster, it has been learned.

    In its first planning report drawn up on July 13, the NDF leaves room for adopting the "sarcophagus (stone coffin) method," in which nuclear fuel debris that melted in the Fukushima crisis will be confined inside reactor buildings using concrete and other materials.

    The NDF points out in the report that it will be difficult to manage such a sarcophagus safely over a long period of time, and emphasizes that it is planning to remove fuel debris from the Fukushima nuclear plant for now. However, the report also says, "It is appropriate to flexibly review the plan in accordance with the conditions inside (nuclear reactors and other parts) that will be revealed later."

    The report also states, "It is necessary to fully consider the uncertainties over passing down responsibilities for a long period of time and concerns over easy postponement from one generation to another."

    The sarcophagus method was adopted at the Chernobyl nuclear complex in the former Soviet Union in the wake of the core meltdowns there in 1986.

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