Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda today declared the Fukushima nuclear plant to be in a fully “stabilised” condition for the first time since it was sent into meltdown by the earthquake and tsunami in March this year.
Mr Noda told a press conference: “The nuclear reactors have reached a state of cold shutdown and therefore we can now confirm that we have come to the end of the accident phase of the actual reactors.”
He added: “We are now moving from trying to stabilise the nuclear reactors to decommissioning them.”
The announcement comes as the UK’s chief nuclear inspector Mike Weightman (pictured) this week spoke about lessons to be learned from the Japanese disaster.
At EDF Energy’s nuclear conference he told suppliers: “What we learn when we analyse it first of all is that we must get the design base right. It’s also about a continuous improvement challenge, not to be complacent, never to think we’ve got it completely right.”
He suggested the industry needed a “cultural shift” towards being “open and transparent, getting money in the bank before you ever have to draw on it.”
Dr Weightman’s words support last week’s announcement from energy minister Charles Hendry, with DECC outlining the need for nuclear investors to have a devoted contingency fund for the decommissioning of new UK plants.