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Fukushima shutdown may take 30 years


A Japanese government panel says it will take at least 30 years to safely close the tsunami-damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, even though the facility is leaking far less radiation than before and is considered relatively stable.

The plant, the site of the world's worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl explosion in 1986, was severely damaged by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami, releasing radioactive material and forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate the area.

While officials say the plant, about 150 miles north-east of Tokyo, is now relatively stable, an expert panel named by Japan's Atomic Energy Commission said in a draft report it would still take 30 years or more to safely decommission it. AP