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Foreign advice on decommissioning

January 12, 2014

Foreign experts to advise Fukushima dismantling



A Japanese research institute on nuclear decommissioning will ask 3 non-Japanese experts for advice on scrapping reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. It's been nearly 3 years since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused nuclear meltdowns.

The International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning was set up last year to support the government in dismantling the crippled reactors.

It is comprised of Tokyo Electric Power Company, which is the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi, and other utilities, as well as makers of nuclear plant equipment.

The organization has been soliciting technological assistance in Japan and abroad.

The 3 foreign advisors include Luis Echavarri, the Director-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Nuclear Energy Agency.

Echavarri says a clear plan should be drawn up and that the decommissioning process should be transparent.

The OECD official proposed a multi-year budget for the work, given the amount of time required for technological development. He says a single-year budgeting framework would be extremely difficult.

Under the present plan, removing nuclear fuel debris from the reactors will start as early as in the first half of 2020.

How that will be done is yet to be decided as not much is known about the exact state of the damaged fuel that will require sophisticated technologies to remove.

Jan. 12, 2014 - Updated 15:33 UTC

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