17 Apr 2011

Nine months to end Japan's nuclear crisis says company

10:01 pm on 17 April 2011

The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant says it expects to bring the crisis under control within nine months.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) says it aims to reduce radiation leaks in three months and to cool the reactors within another three to six months.

The utility says it also plans to cover the reactor building, which was hit by the huge quake and tsunami on 11 March reports the BBC.

Nearly 14,000 people died and another 14,000 are still unaccounted for.

TEPCO's chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata told a news conference in Tokyo on Sunday that they would need up to nine months to bring the power plant to ''cold shutdown''.

He said the plan would allow the tens of thousands of families evacuated from the area around the facility to return home as soon as possible.

Japan's government had ordered TEPCO to come up with a timetable to end the crisis, now rated on a par with the world's worst nuclear accident, the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.