From the Mainichi Daily News, Mainichi, Japan. Human translated, summary by T. Marks, subsequent editing & emphasis mine.
TEPCO won't take Chernobyl approach to resolving nuclear power plant crisis Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) adviser Toshiaki Enomoto is pictured at the company's Tokyo head office. It may take 10 years to start removing damaged nuclear fuel from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, but the plant's operator is adamant not to bury the damaged reactors while fuel remains in them, a company official has said: "We will definitely remove the fuel." Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) adviser Toshiaki Enomoto stressed that the company would not bury the reactors in concrete in a "stone tomb" approach like the one adopted at Chernobyl.
TEPCO chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata has announced plans to decommission the plant's No. 1 through 4 reactors. Normally it takes 20 to 30 years to decommission a reactor, but the process at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is expected to take even longer as workers must start by developing specialized equipment to remove damaged fuel.
Enomoto said that for the time being the ongoing process of injecting water into the No. 1, 2 and 3 reactors at the plant was essential. The plant's residual heat removal system could take a month to get up and running again, Enomoto said. At the same time measures will proceed to have radioactive material contained within the reactor buildings within a few months, Enomoto said. Enomoto said nuclear fuel at the plant could not be removed using conventional methods for two reasons: The reactor buildings are damaged, and measures are needed to prevent the spread of radiation; and 25 to 70 percent damage has occurred to the fuel rods in the No. 1, 2 and 3 reactors. New methods to remove the fuel must be developed, and it will take 10 years before workers can start removing fuel, he said.
This March 24, 2011 aerial photo taken by a small unmanned drone and released by AIR PHOTO SERVICE shows damaged Unit 4 of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okumamachi, Fukushima prefecture, northern Japan. (AP Photo/AIR PHOTO SERVICE) The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said that it took five years for workers to be able to open a pressurized container following the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station accident in March 1979, when about 45 percent of the nuclear reactor fuel melted. It was another six years before the removal of nuclear fuel was completed. He worked at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant four times, including when the No. 1 reactor was started up on a trial basis in 1970. He resigned as executive vice president and head of the company's nuclear power headquarters in 2002 over the cover-up of nuclear reactor trouble.
Now is this because that's the best way to do this? Or because the fuel is extremely costly? I certaintly hope its the former; perhaps my new hero Arnold Gundersen willl address this. Because if not, if he is subjecting us all to this horror because of money.... I try not to use foul language here.
Be seeing you.
UPDATE: Excellent discussion of this post at reddit -- thought my Gentle Readership might benefit.