WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, KAWAMOTO TAKUO
Nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was badly damaged by the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March, have finally been stabilized, according to the country's Prime Minister, Yoshihiko Noda.
The announcement followed the "cold shutdown" of the breached reactors, which were cooled using seawater. "The nuclear reactors have reached a state of cold shutdown, and therefore we can now confirm that we have come to the end of the accident phase of the actual reactors," Noda told a news conference on Friday, according to BBC News. "We are now moving from trying to stabilize the nuclear reactors to decommissioning them."
Noda went on to promise that the Japanese government would move into this next phase safely while focusing on cleaning up leaked radioisotopes around the plant. Earlier last week, the Japanese government stated that clean up and full decommissioning would take about 40 years. Many of the fears that surfaced in the immediate aftermath of the accident—such upticks in cancer and damage to agriculture and environment—have been largely averted thus far.