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Japan's crippled nuclear plant reaches stability

TOKYO — The crippled reactors at Japan's tsunami-hit nuclear power plant have reached stability more than four months after the disaster, and the plant is on track for a cold shutdown within six months, the government and plant operator said Tuesday.

Workers have toiled in hot and harsh conditions to stabilize the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami destroyed reactor cooling systems, triggering partial meltdowns of the reactors and making the disaster the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.

The assessment of reactor stability was based on several milestones: Temperatures at the bottom of reactor pressure vessels are no longer climbing, a makeshift system to process contaminated water works properly after initial problems, and nitrogen injections are helping prevent more explosions.

Japan's crippled nuclear plant reaches stability 07/19/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 10:28pm]
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