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Too early to speak of Fukushima future - Russian nuclear official

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All decisions on the future of the accident-hit Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant will be made after the cooling system is restored, a senior official with the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said on Monday.

All decisions on the future of the accident-hit Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant will be made after the cooling system is restored, a senior official with the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said on Monday.

The Fukushima 1 NPP was plagued by numerous accidents since its cooling system was knocked out in a massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake on March 11. The station's owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), earlier said the troubled plant may be encased in a protective concrete cover to prevent further radioactive emissions.

"The task at the moment is to regain full control over the station and restart the normal cooling system. It is clear by now that three reactors are definitely lost, and the fourth is in serious trouble," said Vladimir Asmolov, first deputy director general of Rosatom.

"It's too early to speak about the future, about the construction of a protective cover, until full control over the station is regained," he added.

Blasts and fires at four units of the station resulted in several radiation leaks, which prompted the authorities to evacuate people within the range of 20 km and ban flights within the area of 30 km around the station.

EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger last Tuesday dubbed Japan's disaster an "apocalypse," and noted that the Japanese authorities have practically lost control of the situation. Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) ranked the disaster equivalent to five on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) scale.

The INES scale, that runs from 1 (anomaly) to 7 (major accident), defines a level-five accident as having "wider consequences" and entailing "limited release of radioactive material likely to require implementation of some planned countermeasures" and leading to "some" radiation-related deaths.

MOSCOW, March 21 (RIA Novosti) 

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