OPTIMISTIC

Japan Nuke Crisis ‘Over in Nine Months’

Responding to pressure from Japan's government to release a timeline for the nuclear crisis, Tokyo Electric Power Company said it plans to reduce radiation leaks in three months and to cool the reactors within nine months. The utility also said it plans to cover the reactor building. Tsunehisa Katsumata, the chairman of Tepco, said putting the plant in “cold shutdown” would allow the tens of thousands of families evacuated from the area to return home as soon as possible. Still, it isn't clear that the nine-month timetable is realistic; high radiation levels have prevented workers from entering the reactor since the crisis began after the March 11 earthquakes. On Sunday, Tepco will send remote-controlled robots into one of the reactors to assess the situation. The announcement comes after radiation levels in the Pacific shot up to 6,500 times the legal limit, an increase from 1,100 times a day earlier.