Hillary Clinton Visits Japan As Tokyo Electric Sets Nine-Month Timetable for Crippled Plant

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Clinton departing from the Seoul Air Base, en route to Japan. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Tokyo Electric Power Company said Sunday that it hopes to bring the reactors at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to stability — "cold shutdown" — within the next nine months. Japan recently raised the crisis level at the Fukushima Daiichi plant from Level 5, on par with the Three Mile Island incident, to Level 7, the worst possible disaster rating on an internationally recognized scale. However, conditions at the plant have reportedly stabilized over the past few days, giving the company the confidence to unveil the timetable, according to the Times. Tokyo Electric plans to install "a cooling system" to lower the temperature in the reactors and spent fuel pools, "as well as reducing radiation in the surrounding area." The company then plans to pump more water, introduce "a heat removal system," and reduce the amount of contaminated water. More simply, the long thought-out plan is, essentially, fix it.

Now that radiation conditions around Japan have steadied, the U.S. has lowered its warning for travel to Japan. To prove it, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the country, noting the U.S.'s "very strong bond of friendship" with Japan, and calling the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis “a multi-dimensional crisis of unprecedented scope." Clinton's visit included a tea date with Emperor Akihito and his wife, Michiko, at the Imperial Palace. The Times was on the scene: "Mrs. Clinton kissed Michiko on both cheeks," the paper reports. "'I’m so, so sorry for everything your country is going through,' she told them, before they entered the palace for tea. She added, 'If there was anything we can do ... '"

Nine-Month Plan Is Set for Crippled Japanese Plant [NYT]