One of the senior advisers of the Fukushima cleanup said that Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) needs foreign assistance. The utility operator may have already sought foreign assistance, but the ones currently available seem to be not enough to ensure that the defunct nuclear plant causes no more trouble.
“They need to have a number of foreign firms to come in and assist them with the cleanup,” said Lady Barbara Judge in an interview in Tokyo. Lady Judge, a lawyer by profession, was in charge of the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) from 2004 until 2010. During her tenure as head of the agency, a number of nuclear plants were decommissioned while overseeing the cleanup of plutonium and uranium leak at the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP) at Sellafield in Cumbria of northwestern England. She currently holds a position of Chairman Emeritus at the UKAEA.
Lady Judge also said that the incidents happening in Fukushima are not surprising, admitting that nuclear plant cleanups in the U.K. also had a number of unforeseen problems. “When people built nuclear power plants, they never thought of decommissioning,” the 66-year old lawyer and lobbyist reminded. “This is a very challenging job in every country.”
Despite the series of controversies hitting TEPCO, Lady Judge, echoing other nuclear experts, doubts that the latest leaks from Fukushima nuclear plant impose public health risks. But she acknowledged that the current events are not helping TEPCO’s reputation. “For TEPCO right now, it’s a question of learning as you go.” She also believes that the utility should be allowed to resume operating two reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, the largest nuclear power plant in the world, in Niigata Prefecture in order to improve its financial status.
[via Wall Street Journal]
Comments Off on JDP Startup Corner: Pros & Cons of Working with a Partner in Japan