Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Water tanks holding contaminated water in front of the reactor buildings at Fukushima Daiichi. (Photo: Susanna Loof/IAEA Imagebank/Flickr/cc)

Fukushima Reactor Cleanup Delayed by Five Years as Japanese Public Demands End to Nuclear Energy

The delay comes days after Japan's government proposed releasing contaminated water from the plant into the ocean.

Julia Conley

The Japanese government said Friday it would delay for a fourth time the removal of spent fuel from two of the reactors at the Fukushima Daichii nuclear power plant, causing concern that the cleanup of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history is happening at a dangerously slow pace.

The removal of the spent fuel was planned to begin in 2023, but the process was bumped back to 2024 at the earliest for the plant's No. 1 reactor and 2027 or later for the No. 2 reactor.

According to the Japan Times, the government claims this aspect of the clean-up is being delayed due to safety concerns and that it plans to construct barriers around the reactors to prevent the spread of radioactive dust.

Reporting on the delay comes days after the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry proposed releasing contaminated water from the plant into the ocean or allowing it to evaporate, and weeks after the ministry said the water contained higher levels of radioactive material than previously thought.

The most recent news about the cleanup process—which is under a 30-40 year plan following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami which forced more than 100,000 residents to evacuate the rural Fukushima region to avoid nuclear contamination from the plant—raised alarm among critics of nuclear power.

The Japanese public has reportedly grown increasingly anti-nuclear power since the Fukushima disaster, according to an Al Jazeera report earlier this month.

"Japanese people's sentiment changed after Fukushima Daiichi and it is continuing until now," Hajime Matsukubo, secretary-general of the Citizens' Nuclear Information Center, told Al Jazeera. "They say no."

In a 2015 poll by the Japan Atomic Energy Relations Organization, only 10 percent of Japanese respondents said the country should maintain its use of nuclear energy.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

New Legal Campaign Aims to Protect People and Nature From Polluters' 'Irreparable Damage'

"States must listen to communities' demands to recognize the human right to a healthy environment and better regulate businesses with respect to the impacts of their operations."

Jessica Corbett ·


'You Tell Me What We Should Cut': Sanders Not Budging on $3.5 Trillion

"Poll after poll tells me, and tells you, that what we are trying to do is enormously popular."

Jake Johnson ·


Civil Rights Leaders Decry Senate's Failure to Pass Police Reform Bill

"We will continue to fight and advocate for legislation worthy of George Floyd's name," vowed the heads of seven advocacy groups.

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Set to Admit Even Fewer Refugees Than Trump's Record Low

The "paltry" number of those admitted so far would be well below the 62,500 ceiling President Joe Biden had set for the current fiscal year.

Andrea Germanos ·


In 'Landmark' Decision, EPA Finalizes Rule Cutting Use of Super-Pollutant HFCs

The regulation will drastically curb the use of "the most potent super-pollutants known to mankind at the moment," one climate campaigner said.

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo