TEPCO seeks to rotate more workers to Fukushima nuclear plant

October 28, 2013

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

The president of Tokyo Electric Power Co. told the chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority Oct. 28 that the utility is seeking to place more of its workers at the embattled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to better deal with the continuing leaks of radioactive water.

TEPCO President Naomi Hirose talked about the plan with Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the NRA, as the utility is facing mounting criticism over its handling of the situation.

Tanaka summoned Hirose to discuss how to fix the problems and improve working conditions for workers there.

Hirose explained that it is getting difficult for the utility to secure sufficient manpower at the plant and that it was grappling with tasks the company was not familiar with.

He even said workers there were having difficulty trying to communicate while wearing surgical masks to protect them from radiation.

The one-on-one meeting, their first, was held behind closed doors. One official with the NRA said the meeting was called to “listen to (TEPCO’s) problems in a little heart-to-heart talk.”

The Fukushima No. 1 plant has been plagued by numerous troubles, in addition to the enormous task of cooling its melted fuel rods. The most immediate challenge is how to prevent radioactive water from escaping into the sea.

Hirose said that TEPCO plans to mobilize more of its employees, including some from its hydraulic and thermal power plants, to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant as part of a company-wide effort to stop the leaks and proceed with decommissioning.

Tanaka also called on Hirose to implement sweeping steps to safeguard workers from high doses of radiation and other troubles at the plant by drawing up a long-term plan of action on how best to proceed.

(This article was written by Ryuta Koike and Toshio Kawada.)

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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Shunichi Tanaka, right, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, meets with TEPCO President Naomi Hirose on Oct. 28 at the organization's headquarters in Tokyo's Minato Ward. (Yosuke Fukudome)

Shunichi Tanaka, right, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, meets with TEPCO President Naomi Hirose on Oct. 28 at the organization's headquarters in Tokyo's Minato Ward. (Yosuke Fukudome)

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  • Shunichi Tanaka, right, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, meets with TEPCO President Naomi Hirose on Oct. 28 at the organization's headquarters in Tokyo's Minato Ward. (Yosuke Fukudome)

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