as delivered by the TEPCO chairman Katsumata in the press conference on April 17:
Step 1: 3 months till the radiation level starts to decline steadily.
- Step 2: 3 to 6 months till the [release of the] radioactive materials are well controlled and the radiation level declines significantly.
Total process to last 6 to 9 months.
I'm reading the 7-page handout (in Japanese) that TEPCO distributed for the press conference that details out the specific tasks to achieve the goals (that they call "Steps 1 and 2"). So far I haven't find anything that is different from what TEPCO has been doing for the past month.
From the handout:
TEPCO's three areas of work:
- Cooling the reactors/spent fuel pools
- Suppressing the radioactive materials
- Radiation monitoring and removal of radioactive materials
Pages 3 and 4 have some interesting information about the current status of the reactors as TEPCO sees them:
In Reactors 1, 2 and 3, the fuel pellets are partially damaged but they are being cooled by water; continue injecting fresh water, and come up with other cooling systems.
Currently injecting fresh water into Reactor Pressure Vessels, but the risk is that the steam within the Containment Vessel will condense due to lower temperature [of the RPV], increasing the amount of hydrogen and the chance of a hydrogen explosion.
In Reactors 1, 2, and 3, there is a high possibility that the small amount of radioactive steam has been escaping from the Containment Vessels through cracks (or gaps, openings) that had been caused by the high temperature.
Cracks? So it's not just the matter of the Suppression Pool of the Reactor 2 broken.
Now, the altered New York Times article from March comes to mind. Before it was altered, the article quoted a Japanese nuclear industry expert saying there was a huge crack up and down the Reactor 3's Containment Vessel and there was no way they could seal that crack.
So what else will TEPCO and the national government be dribbling out, over the next 9 months? They will extend and pretend as long as necessary until the weary citizens and residents of Japan simply don't care any more, as they will let their children play in the contaminated school yards and eat contaminated vegetables and fish to support the farmers and fishermen, and tell themselves everything will be just fine.