"Extend and Pretend" continues in Japan, getting beyond delusional particularly in light of more evidence of widespread radiation contamination.
Prime Minister Kan, who survived the vote of no confidence and is determined more than ever to stay on (or dissolve the lower house and hold a general election with "beyond nuke" message, as some analysts have suggested, to appeal to the Japanese who are increasingly anti-nuke), now promises the 12 heads of the municipalities around Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant that completion of the "step 2" of the so-called "roadmap" will be expedited so that their people can go home.
What is the "step 2"? It is to bring the reactors to a "cold shutdown".
Don't laugh. And don't ask how they can bring three broken reactors which may not even have the fuel (or corium) inside to a "cold shutdown". Technically, a "cold shutdown" assumes a sound RPV and containment, not a RPV with a hole or two, Containment Vessel with a hole or two, and the reactor building top blown to smithereens. They will probably have to change the very definition of "cold shutdown" to claim they will have achieved the "cold shutdown".
Let's see, according to TEPCO, the Reactor Pressure Vessel's temperature for Reactor 1 is 102 degrees Celsius at the bottom of the RPV, the temperature for Reactor 2's RPV at the same place is 127 degrees Celsius. Reactor 3's RPV is hotter at 141 degrees Celsius at the water feeder. But just wait another 3, 4 months or so till the corium completely falls out of the RPVs and hopefully out of the Containment Vessel and deep into the concrete or substrate, so that the RPV's temperature drops down below 100. Call that a cold shutdown, and they're all set.
Yomiuri Shinbun (7/17/2011) reports:
Prime Minister Kan attended a meeting on July 16 at a hotel in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture to exchange opinions with the heads of the 12 municipalities surrounding Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.
Regarding the "roadmap" to winding down the plant accident, the prime minister expressed his hope that the "step 2" will be achieved ahead of schedule. The "step 2" is to bring the reactors to a "cold shutdown" by the middle of January next year. According to the participants in the meeting, Minister in charge of the nuke accident Hosono reported that the "step 1", whose deadline was July 17, had been almost all successfully completed. The prime minister said "we want to achieve the "step 2" ahead of schedule so that many of you can go back to your homes."
Some expressed a huge disappointment at the prime ministers explanation in the cabinet meeting and in the Diet that his "beyond-nuke" stance was only his personal opinion. In response, the prime minister said his administration's unified view on the issue would be decided soon.