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Covers for Fukushima reactors to combine building skills.

TOKYO, June 27 Kyodo

A combination of Japanese traditional post-and-beam construction methods and cutting-edge dome stadium technologies will be used in building giant covers for three damaged reactor buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex, Kyodo News learned Monday.

Major general contractors Kajima Corp., Shimizu Corp. and Takenaka Corp. will begin work as early as Tuesday, with an eye to completing the first cover around the fall at the plant crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, industry sources said.

The construction orders for blanketing the Nos. 1, 3 and 4 reactor buildings to prevent further scattering of leaked radioactive substances are estimated at 15 billion to 20 billion yen each, according to the sources.

Construction work will start from the No. 1 reactor, with the cover measuring 54 meters high, 42 meters wide and 47 meters long. The covers are designed to be quake- and wind-resistant.

The traditional method used in building ancient temples and castles, with precut beams and pillars all locked in place like giant puzzles without the need for nails and metal fittings, would shorten on-site operation times -- a crucial condition due to high radiation levels in the area.

It will be used in putting together the covers' steel frames and securing panels onto them as walls and roofs. The panels, covered with resin-treated polyester sheets, will be assembled as much as possible at a port in nearby Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, before being delivered to the construction sites, the sources said.

Shimizu and Kajima have extensive experience in building and renovating temples and shrines using traditional construction methods, while Takenaka will utilize its know-how in building dome stadiums. They are also expected to enlist the cooperation of other high-tech manufacturers with related expertise.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the Fukushima plant, says in its restoration roadmap that the covers would help seal in the radioactive materials and significantly suppress radiation levels by January next year.

Radiation leaks from the plant have forced people living within a 20-kilometer radius of the plant and some areas beyond to evacuate.
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Publication:Japan Energy Scan
Date:Jun 27, 2011
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