[ti:Japan Changes Fukushima Cleanup] [by:www.51星和彩票.com] [00:00.00]更多听力请访问51VOA.COM [00:01.12]Japan has changed its plan for cleaning up the Fukushima nuclear plant. [00:09.04]The change further delays the removal of used nuclear fuel [00:15.00]that has remained in cooling pools since the 2011 disaster. [00:21.80]The removal process is difficult because of high radiation levels and other risks. [00:29.76]But the government and the plant's owner, Tokyo Electric Power or TEPCO, [00:37.80]are aiming to complete the task within 30 to 40 years. [00:43.60]After the earthquake and tsunami, more than 4,700 fuel rod units [00:51.80]remain at the three melted reactors and two surviving reactors. [00:59.32]The fuel rods present a high risk because their storage pools are uncovered. [01:06.40]If another major disaster were to cause a loss of water, the fuel rods could melt, releasing radiation. [01:17.12]Their removal was first planned in 2018. [01:22.04]But it has now been postponed for up to 10 years in order to reduce radiation and to clear other waste. [01:33.52]TEPCO has been unable to release 1.2 million tons of water [01:39.92]kept in nearly 1,000 tanks at the Fukushima center. [01:45.80]It is feared that the release of radioactive water will harm fishing and agriculture in the area. [01:55.64]The plant can only store up to 1.37 million tons of water. [02:02.32]And the amount of water is growing by 170 tons every day [02:09.40]because it is used to cool the melted fuel inside the reactors. [02:16.40]At this rate, TEPCO says the plant will run out of storage space by the summer of 2022. [02:26.20]Japan's government recently wrote a proposal to release the water after treatment. [02:33.64]The water is still somewhat radioactive, but TEPCO says further treatment [02:40.72]can remove all but radioactive tritium to levels acceptable for release. [02:48.56]Experts say tritium is not harmful to humans in small amounts [02:55.68]and has been regularly released from nuclear plants around the world. [03:02.36]The biggest difficulty for Japan is the removal of an estimated 880 tons of melted fuel [03:11.72]from Fukushima's three severely damaged reactors. [03:17.68]The amount is six times larger than what was found [03:22.08]after the 1979 Three Mile Island partial meltdown in the United States. [03:30.04]A robotic arm was developed for the task. [03:33.96]The removal will begin with just a spoonful at first. [03:39.64]The fuel will then be carefully measured and studied under International Atomic Energy Agency instructions. [03:49.36]Japan hopes to slowly expand the process of removal with new methods and robotic development. [03:56.20]However, the country has yet to develop a plan to dispose [04:02.12]of the highly radioactive melted fuel and other waste from the reactors. [04:10.00]TEPCO and the government say they plan to build a storage area for radioactive waste from Fukushima. [04:20.16]But finding a place and getting public support will be difficult. [04:26.40]The Japanese government estimates that the cost of the clean-up for Fukushima is about $73 billion. [04:35.80]That number could grow to $200 billion with storage facilities [04:42.76]and added compensation and clean-up of the areas surrounding the nuclear center. [04:50.36]The Japan Center for Economic Research, however, suggests that the cost of clean-up [04:57.92]for the nuclear plant alone could be as high as $470 billion. [05:05.08]I'm John Russell. 更多听力请访问51VOA.COM