September 27, 2007

Chernobyl to be covered in steel

The authorities in Ukraine have approved a giant steel cover for Chernobyl. Ukraine has hired a French firm to build the structure to replace the crumbling concrete casing put over the reactor after the 1986 accident. The casing project is expected to cost $1.4bn (£700m).

It will take five years to complete and the authorities say they will then be able to start dismantling the reactor. [via BBC News]

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July 19, 2007

New leak at Japanese nuclear plant

Japanese regulators discovered a fresh leak of radioactive material Thursday from a nuclear power plant damaged in an earthquake this week, news reports said, adding to criticism of the embattled plant operator.

Nuclear inspectors probed the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, which suffered a barrage of leaks and malfunctions in Monday's 6.8-magnitude quake in northwestern Japan. The plant was ordered shut down indefinitely on Wednesday.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency found radioactive iodine had leaked from an exhaust pipe at the plant, Kyodo News agency and national broadcaster NHK reported. Operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. already had announced the release of other radioactive materials from the exhaust vent previously. [via MSNBC]

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