UPDATE 18 - Tepco to decommission reactors 1-4 at Fukushima

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) is to decommission reactors 1-4 at the devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.
 
According to the BBC, Tepco made the announcement three weeks after failing to bring all four reactors safely under control. Locals would be consulted on reactors 5 and 6 which underwent cold shutdown.
 
Other developments:  
 
·      Tepco is considering whether to cover the reactor buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi plant with a special fabric to stop the spread of radioactive substances, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said.
 
·      Tepco's president Masataka Shimizu has been admitted to hospital, suffering from high blood pressure and dizziness.
 
·      Seawater near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has reached a much higher level of radiation than previously reported. The new readings near reactor No 1 - 300m (328 yd) from the shore - showed radioactive iodine at 3355 times the legal limit, said Japan's nuclear safety agency.
 
·      Earlier samples had put the iodine level in the sea at 1,850 times the legal limit. Much lower - but still elevated levels - of the same radioactive element have been found in seawater as far as 16km (10 miles) to the south.
 
·      Japan's Nuclear Safety Agency said the radiation level does not pose an immediate threat to fishery products. However, the latest discovery will likely increase concern both for the safety of Japanese seafood and its reputation abroad.
 
  For comprehensive coverage of the Japanese nuclear power disaster and efforts under way to resolve it, visit PennEnergy’s Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Emergency 2011 special section. 

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