The crippled nuclear reactors at Japan’s Fukushima power plant have finally been stabilised, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has announced.
An earthquake and tsunami in March knocked out vital cooling systems, triggering radiation leaks and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.
Mr Noda’s declaration of a “cold shutdown” condition marked the stabilisation of the plant.
The government says it will take decades to dismantle it completely.
The six-reactor Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was badly damaged by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. Blasts occurred at four of the reactors after the cooling systems went offline.
Workers at the plant, which is operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), have been using sea water to cool the reactors. Waste water has built up and some contaminated liquid has been released into the sea.
A 20km (12m) exclusion zone remains in place around the plant.
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