While radiation emissions have dropped significantly since the 11 March earthquake and tsunami, workers continue to operate in highly dangerous conditions.
Towns near Fukushima have responded cautiously to plans to build temporary storage sites for massive quantities of radioactive debris generated by the accident.
Almost eight months after the start of the crisis the government says the facilities will not be ready for at least another three years. In the meantime, towns will have to store the contaminated waste locally, despite health concerns.
To reach its target of halving radiation levels within two years the government will have to remove large quantities of soil. Scraping 4cm of topsoil from contaminated farmland in Fukushima prefecture would create more than 3m tonnes of waste, says the agriculture ministry, enough to fill 20 football stadiums.
Once completed, the storage facilities would hold soil and other contaminated waste for up to 30 years, local reports said.
"We have been aiming to start cleaning up as soon as possible," Toshiaki Kusano, an official in Fukushima city, told Reuters. "To do so we need to talk about where to store the waste, but we have not been able to answer the question residents are asking: how long it was going to stay there?"
I still stick by my estimate of a trillion dollars to clean this mess up completely. Now we have a decent idea of the timeframe to go along with it.