Tokyo (ANTARA News/Kyodo-OANA) - The government expects that several months may be required before radioactive particles stop being released from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, its top spokesman said Sunday.

``If we apply methods considered to be normal, I believe that it will be something like that,`` Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference, when asked whether at least several months would be required before the plant crippled by the devastating March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami is brought under control.

``While it may not be feasible, we have been asking for other possibilities to be explored to shorten that period,`` Edano said, noting that the government and the plant`s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., are considering multiple approaches to halting the nuclear crisis.

Goshi Hosono, a special adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan, said earlier in the day that the government has set a target of ``several months`` for the release of radioactive substances from the plant to be stopped.

``What will follow that stage is the goal of stabilizing the plant by installing a perfect cooling mechanism for the reactors,`` Hosono told a live Fuji TV news program.

Hosono indicated to reporters after the program that the government will set separate time frames for halting the release of radioactive materials into the atmosphere, seawater and ground.

``Although the plant has not yet emerged from its critical situation, it has recovered some stability`` and it is time ``to inform the public what we are trying to do`` with time frames to help ease anxiety, said Hosono, who has been serving as a major liaison between the government and the power company.

As a lengthy battle to overcome the crisis is expected, Edano said the government will enhance its assistance for people who resided in the 20-kilometer exclusion zone around the nuclear plant and those within 20 km to 30 km who have been advised to stay indoors.

Edano said the government will review whether it is necessary to change the currently designated areas once experts finish analyzing the latest data as a larger number of radiation monitoring samples have been collected in recent days.

He said authorities have examined the thyroid gland functions of around 900 infants and children living in municipalities near the plant. But he said none of them, ranging from under the age of 1 to 15 years old, showed signs of being affected by radiation.

Edano also touched on the need to launch a ``highly independent`` panel to thoroughly examine the nuclear crisis at an early date once the emergency situation has been mitigated.(*)

Editor: Jafar M Sidik
Copyright © ANTARA 2011