Demolished: An aerial view of the plant taken on March 24 shows Unit 4 and Unit 3 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okumamachi. A red crane far left shows the valiant efforts of the 'Fukushima 50'.

TOKYO, May 29 (MarketWatch) – Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501.TO) is coming to the view that it will be impossible to stabilize the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant by the end of this year, possibly affecting the timing for the government to consider the return of evacuees to their homes near the plant, Kyodo News reported, citing senior company officials.

The revelation that meltdowns had occurred at the Nos. 1 to 3 reactors at the plant, most likely with breaches to pressure vessels encasing nuclear fuel, has led the officials to believe that "there will be a major delay to work" to contain the situation, one of them said.

The plant operator, known as TEPCO, announced on April 17 its road map for bringing the troubled reactors at the plant into a stably cooled condition called "cold shutdown" in six to nine months. …

But "the nine months is just a target deadline for which we are making efforts," a senior TEPCO official said, indicating that the likely delay would affect the plan to review the evacuation of local people, which the government is hoping to implement once the reactors are brought under control. …

The official added, "Unless we understand the extent of the damage, we don't even know how long that work alone would take," noting the need for one or two months more than previously thought to establish an entirely new cooling system.

Another senior TEPCO official said workers tackling the crisis at the plant are likely to have to give up their New Year's holidays, saying that work has not been proceeding at an equal pace at the three troubled reactors. …

Tepco can't stabilize reactors by year-end: report



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