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16 December 2011

Japan gov't declares 'cold shutdown' of crippled Fukushima plant

Japan declares 'cold shutdown' of Fukushima plant
Photo taken from a Kyodo News helicopter on Dec. 15, 2011, shows the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Dec. 16 the plant has achieved a stable state of cold shutdown, nine months after the outbreak of one of the world's worst nuclear accidents. (Kyodo)

The Japanese government announced on Friday that the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has achieved a stable state of cold shutdown, in a sign that the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl has been brought under control nine months after its outbreak.

''We have decided that a stable condition has been achieved and that the accident at the plant itself has been settled,'' Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told a meeting of other Cabinet ministers, while ordering them to move ahead with the work of scrapping the stricken nuclear reactors.

But he also said that the government faces a host of issues in the aftermath of the accident, such as the work to clean up the vast tracts of land contaminated by radiation and to realize the return of people forced to evacuate from around the plant.

- Kyodo News