Japan to scrap stricken reactors

Damage to the reactors has been extensive

Japan is to decommission four stricken reactors at the quake-hit Fukushima nuclear plant, the operator says.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) made the announcement three weeks after failing to bring reactors 1 – 4 under control. Locals would be consulted on reactors 5 and 6 which were shut down safely.

Harmful levels of radioactivity have been detected in the area.

More than 11,000 people are known to have been killed by the devastating 11 March earthquake and tsunami.

Tepco chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata said it was inevitable reactors 1 – 4 would be scrapped.

The earthquake and tsunami damaged the nuclear plant’s power supply, leading to a failure of the cooling systems.

Since then engineers have been battling to cool down the core of the reactors using seawater – but the operation has failed to stop radioactive leaks.

Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan has said the country is on “maximum alert”.

Tepco has been accused of a lack of transparency and failing to provide information promptly.

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