Oh what a surprise.
From Kyodo News English (full article by subscription only; 5/30/2011):
Tokyo Electric Power Co. 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, senior company officials said Sunday, possibly affecting the timing for the government to consider the return of evacuees to their homes near the plant.
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.
Well, as late as May 17 when the revised "roadmap" was disclosed, TEPCO said there would be no change in the target time-frame for the "cold shutdown".
The Kyodo Japanese article has a bit more information "leaked" by the TEPCO execs:
One executive said "6-9 month time-frame is only a target to strive for, and not a binding one." [So the "roadmap" is a wish-list.]
About the Reactor 1 whose Containment Vessel is now found to be leaking water, "We have to find the leak and stop it. If we don't know the extend of the damage to the Containment Vessel, we don't know how long it takes to stop the leak."
Another exec says "it will take 1 or 2 additional months" to bring the reactors in "cold shutdown" because of the bigger cooling system now envisioned.
Yet another one says "the works at three reactors [1, 2, 3] are not progressing simultaneously, as planned. We'll have to ask workers to work during the New Year holidays."
These executives are no doubt from the TEPCO's Tokyo headquarters and probably the same ones who ordered a fancy "roadmap" at the government's request, not people at Fukushima I Nuke Plant trying to contain the on-going crisis for the past 2 and a half months.
"Cold shutdown", as Kyoto University's Koide has repeatedly said, assumes the Reactor Pressure Vessel intact, and the fuel rods intact. There is no word for bringing the broken reactor with totally melted fuel into a stable condition so that it won't emit any more radiation. There is no established process to do that, particularly when the melted jumble, corium, is possibly eating away the concrete beneath the Containment Vessels.
As long as TEPCO (headquarters) and the Japanese government are fooling around with the impossible idea of "cold shutdown" of the reactors that are broken, with the corium already outside the Reactor Pressure Vessels, or Containment Vessels, there will be no end in sight, I'm afraid.