Panel to plan Fukushima plant decommissioning, rebuilding of local area

January 03, 2014

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

FUKUSHIMA--The deputy industry minister said he will set up a special study group this month to advise him on how to map out a long-term strategy for decommissioning the reactors at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and rebuilding local industry.

Kazuyoshi Akaba, who is also the chief of the government’s task force handling the Fukushima nuclear disaster, made the announcement at a news conference in the city of Fukushima on Dec. 30.

He called for the decommissioning to be seen as an economic opportunity that should be used to facilitate the return of those evacuees displaced by the meltdown at the plant.

“It’s a given fact that we need to create employment opportunities by building the industry there to enable evacuees to be able to return to their homes,” he told the news conference.

Local leaders and experts will make up the study group. It will meet once a month and present its proposals in June.

The study group also plans to tour the Hanford Site in Richland, Wash., where plutonium was processed. Members hope to draw lessons from the decommissioning of reactors there, which is currently under way.

The group will take up a range of issues such as establishing a research center that will focus on the decommissioning and decontamination operations at the Fukushima plant; how to best incorporate robotics into the process, including the cleanup effort; and devise ways to attract businesses to the area and improve infrastructure after evacuees are given the go-ahead to return home.

Members include Masao Uchibori, vice governor of Fukushima Prefecture, and Yoshiyuki Ishizaki, who represents the Fukushima Revitalization Headquarters for Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled nuclear plant. Local leaders from the Futaba region, including municipalities hosting the plant, as well as the president of the University of Aizu, will also join.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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Kazuyoshi Akaba, deputy industry minister, talks to reporters about the planned study group that will devise a road map on how best to decommission the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and rebuild local industry at a news conference in Fukushima, Fukushima Prefecture, on Dec. 30. (Shinichi Fujiwara)

Kazuyoshi Akaba, deputy industry minister, talks to reporters about the planned study group that will devise a road map on how best to decommission the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and rebuild local industry at a news conference in Fukushima, Fukushima Prefecture, on Dec. 30. (Shinichi Fujiwara)

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  • Kazuyoshi Akaba, deputy industry minister, talks to reporters about the planned study group that will devise a road map on how best to decommission the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and rebuild local industry at a news conference in Fukushima, Fukushima Prefecture, on Dec. 30. (Shinichi Fujiwara)

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