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Japan’s Crippled Nuclear Power Plant Reaches Cold Shutdown

STR/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Japan’s prime minister announced Friday that cold shutdown has been achieved at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said the reactors “have reached a state of cold shutdown to the point where the accident is now under control.”  Cold shutdown means the reactors have stayed at temperatures below the boiling point for some time.  Experts say significant work still needs to be done and the process will take years.

The reactors’ cooling systems failed in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan this past March.  A series of explosions rocked the plant and a resulting plume of radioactive particles displaced some 80,000 people who lived within a 12-and-a-half-mile radius of the plant.

The government has still not decided when evacuated residents of the area can return to their homes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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