From Nuclear Plant to Nuclear Park?; July 2011; Scientific American Magazine; by David Biello; 1 Page(s)
Twenty-five years after the tragedy at the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine, tons of concrete shield workers and visitors from the puddle of dangerously radioactive melted fuel that lurks in the basement. In contrast, more than 30 years after the accident at Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, Pa., the next-door twin of the partially melted-down reactor is still in operation and surrounded by homes. Eventually the plant will be torn down and the site cleaned up.
These two scenarios—continued operation followed by cleanup versus abandoning and entombing the site—bookend the possible outcomes for the newest member of the nuclear meltdown club, Fukushima Daiichi. The Japanese plant has endured partial meltdowns in at least three of its six reactors, as well as two of its seven pools for storing spent fuel. “You have several [impacted] reactors, and you could easily have two or three approaches to decommissioning,” says Kurt Kehler, vice president of decommissioning and demolition at CH2M HILL in Englewood, Colo.