Tepco plans dialogue with residents on Fukushima reactor decommissioning


Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to set up a forum for dialogue with residents in Fu­ku­shi­ma Prefecture about the company’s work to decommission reactors at its wrecked nuclear plant, according to a Tepco executive.

In a recent interview, Nao­hi­ro Ma­su­da, 57, head of Tepco’s in-house company for reactor decommissioning, said, “We want to ease concerns among local people about our reactor decommissioning work in order to help promote their return home” as the government’s evacuation advisories are gradually being lifted.

“As early as in April, we plan to launch a forum including myself and other members of the decommissioning division so that we can hold direct talks with residents,” he said. “We will hear from them about issues of their interest while providing information on the decommissioning work.”

Tepco is set to decommission all six reactors at the Fu­ku­shi­ma No. 1 plant.

Three of the reactors suffered core meltdowns following the magnitude-9 earthquake and subsequent monster tsunami on March 11, 2011.

In fiscal 2017, the company is slated to remove fuel assemblies from the spent fuel storage pool in the reactor 3 building.

While noting that Tepco successfully removed fuel from the pool for the No. 4 reactor in 2014, Ma­su­da said that a remote control system will be used for the work at the No. 3 unit because radiation levels are still very high.

“We hope that the installation of equipment for the fuel removal will be completed within fiscal 2016,” he said.

Meanwhile, the company’s work to treat radiation-tainted water at the plant through the Advanced Liquid Processing System, or ALPS, has been slow.

Masuda pointed to a delay in the construction of tanks for storing treated water.

He also said that the volume of contaminated water that needs to be treated has increased temporarily because the completion of water-shielding walls near the coast led to a rise in the amount of groundwater to be pumped up.

“It is difficult to say when the ALPS-based water decontamination work will be completed,” he said.