Skip to main content

Japan's Shinzo Abe calls on TEPCO to decommission 2 Fukushima reactors

By Yoko Wakatsuki, CNN
updated 10:30 AM EDT, Thu September 19, 2013
Japan's nuclear watchdog members at the Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma,
Japan's nuclear watchdog members at the Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma,
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Abe asks TEPCO to decommission Reactors 5 and 6 at the crippled nuclear plant
  • Those two reactors didn't suffer the same level of damage as the other four
  • The prime minister visits the Fukushima plant amid concerns about toxic water leaks
  • He sets TEPCO a deadline of March 2014 to fix the contaminated water problem

Tokyo (CNN) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday that he has asked Tokyo Electric Power Co. to decommission two more reactors at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Abe called for the decommissioning of Reactors 5 and 6 "as soon as possible" as he visited the plant, wearing protective gear, to look at efforts to contain leaks from tanks holding huge volumes of toxic water at the plant.

Less than two weeks ago, his government said it would spend about $470 million to try to tackle the contaminated water crisis at the plant, which was damaged by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan in March 2011.

Life goes on despite uncertainty in Fukushima

It also follows the announcement that Tokyo will host the Olympic Games in the summer of 2020. Abe has promised that the games will be "safe and secure" despite continuing concerns about the situation at the Fukushima plant.

How did we get to this point?

Living in limbo near Fukushima
Trying to decontaminate Fukushima

Reactors 5 and 6 were in not in operation when the 2011 tsunami hit the power plant and didn't experience the damage suffered by the other four reactors. They have been in "cold shutdown" since the disaster.

Meltdowns occurred at Reactors 1, 2 and 3. And concerns remain about the state of the spent fuel rod at Reactor 4.

The long road home after 2011 disaster

TEPCO has already said it will decommission the four damaged reactors, but it hadn't clarified what would happen to Reactors 5 and 6.

Abe said he also asked the plant operator to fix the problem of toxic water leaks by the end of March 2014.

TEPCO is struggling to manage the vast amounts of tainted water stored at the plant and hundreds of tons of groundwater that flow through the area every day.

Japan shuts down last nuclear reactor -- for now

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:10 AM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
In South Korea, volunteer divers are risking their lives to rescue victims of the sunken ferry.
updated 3:15 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
Park Jee Young, 22, helped passengers escape as the Sewol ferry sank -- giving out life jackets while refusing to wear one herself.
updated 12:43 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
What did outgoing manager David Moyes get wrong in his six months with English Premier League football team Manchester United?
updated 1:36 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
In honor of Shakespeare's birthday, here are 15 of the world's most amazing theaters.
updated 1:34 PM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
CNN exclusive: Australian officials are hammering out a new agreement for widening the Flight 370 search area.
updated 8:28 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Malaysian officials sent to brief Chinese families are armed with little to no information.
updated 11:45 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
When a team of Indian surgeons opened up the stomach of a 63-year-old man, they had no idea they'd extract a fortune.
updated 3:01 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
Do these photos CNN of gun-toting men wearing green uniforms prove Russian forces are in eastern Ukraine?
updated 1:11 PM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
If the Duchess wears it, then your fashion career is sorted for life.
updated 9:30 PM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Tucked away near the border with Cameroon, this poor corner of Nigeria is no stranger to such brazen, violent acts.
updated 8:34 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
An infant mountain Gorilla sits in the dense jungle canopy on the edge of Uganda's Bwindi National Park in this 29, January 2007 photo. Bwindi, or the 'Impenetrable Forest' as it is known to many tourists is home to the majority of Uganda's rare and endangered mountain gorilla population where plans are underway to habituate two more gorilla family groups to counter growing demand from a flourishing gorilla trek tourism business, a major source of income for the Uganda tourism Authority. AFP PHOTO / STUART PRICE. (Photo credit should read STUART PRICE/AFP/Getty Images)
Tthe constant threat of poaching, deforestation and human diseases means the world's mountain gorillas could be completely wiped out.
updated 9:33 AM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
Prince George takes a special interest in an Australian animal on a zoo trip.
updated 10:02 PM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
How could a teenage stowaway survive hours in a jet's sub-zero wheel well at 38,000 feet?
updated 9:40 AM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
updated 6:58 AM EDT, Tue April 22, 2014
See what life is like for superyacht stewardesses-in-training. One thing's for certain -- they can never say "no."
updated 10:57 PM EDT, Mon April 21, 2014
Home of Bruce Lee, divine dim sum, lofty buildings, loftier real estate prices and easy access to the great outdoors.
ADVERTISEMENT