So dangerous is the crippled nuclear plant at Fukushima that it is only safe for a remote-controlled robot to enter the damaged reactor. Plant operator ‘Tokyo Electric Power Company’ (Tepco) said that the robot has been able to capture views of the underwater damage caused by the melted fuel. Mari Yamaguchi of the Associated Press said that these robots are now key to the decades-long decommissioning process, due to the ‘super high levels of radiation and structural damage’. The aim is to be able to begin removing the melted nuclear fuel by 2021, but this will be at an astronomical cost, and there has already been a devastating environmental impact on the area.
In the Times newspaper last month, Robin Pagnamenta reported that the estimated cost of cleaning up Fukushima is likely to be £142 billion, although the final bill could be much higher. He questions whether nuclear can ever be commercially viable when the average cost of decommissioning is £700 million, with a forty-year timescale for completion, Tepco share prices have plummeted as the spiralling clean-up bill at Fukushima hangs over a nuclear industry grappling with an unprecedented crisis in an already ailing industry. There is only one way of preventing this ever happening again and that is to bring an abrupt, and final, end to the nuclear energy industry worldwide.