As if often the case, public memory is short, media memory is short (here too). Unfortunately, as the nuclear disaster at Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant is still not over, even if not in the headlines every day. In fact, a new round of reports raise questions about whether a new accident is increasingly likely.
Talking about a "slight bulge" in the walls of one of the reactor buildings, and against the background of the "jury-rigged cooling system" malfunctioning several times, Hiroaki Koide, from Kyoto University's Research Reactor Institute:
The No. 4 reactor is visibly damaged and in a fragile state, down to the floor that holds the spent fuel pool. Any radioactive release could be huge and go directly into the environment. (New York Times)
Tokyo Electric Power Company says the earliest the containment pool in this reactor could be emptied is late 2013. Full clean up of the site is expected to take decades.
Last month Japan closed the last of its nuclear power plants, all shuttered in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, as backlash against the handling of the disaster and the potential consequences of another disaster occurring swung public opinion against nuclear power.