By BJ Bjornson
It has been about eight months since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan that started a crisis at the Fukishima power plant. Since then, news about the plant has pretty much disappeared from the headlines, since stories that proceed in a slow, long and painful pace don�t tend to be terribly exciting. Still, it bears mentioning that the clean-up is far from over, and in fact, has barely even started.
Experts in Japan have warned it could take more than 30 years to clean up the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
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The commission called on the facility's operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), to begin removing the fuel rods within 10 years. The damage to Fukushima is more difficult to repair than that sustained at Three Mile Island, where fuel removal began six years after an accident in 1979.
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Towns near Fukushima have responded cautiously to plans to build temporary storage sites for massive quantities of radioactive debris generated by the accident.
Almost eight months after the start of the crisis the government says the facilities will not be ready for at least another three years. In the meantime, towns will have to store the contaminated waste locally, despite health concerns.
I�ve never been terribly afraid of nuclear power, but there is no question that when things go wrong, the effects of that going wrong tend to linger for quite some time. As a result, the massive redundancies and safety systems required for every new generation of nuclear power plants grows to where it will never be an economical replacement for fossil fuels. We should really get used to that idea already.