An announcement came on Thursday that Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) will no longer be exporting its expertise on nuclear power plants to other countries going forward. The utility company that operates the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that was struck by the March 11th tsunami, and is widely held responsible by the Japanese public for the resulting disaster, is still struggling with recovery. The announcement came as part of a shareholder’s meeting the day before, where the investment of 1 trillion yen (approx. $12.6 billion) by the Japanese government was made official, making TEPCO essentially state-owned.
Going forward, TEPCO will no longer be involved in the construction and management of two nuclear reactors scheduled to be built in Vietnam. The project was being handled by a joint collective of industries that worked to promote Japan’s nuclear power expertise overseas. Naomi Hirose, TEPCO’s incoming president, stated that there still was a lot of work to be done on decommissioning the Fukushima reactors, and the company’s atomic engineers needed to keep that their main priority. The company cannot leave its domestic responsibilities in order to promote exports, he added.
The original plan was for some of TEPCO’s engineers to work and teach at the nuclear plants in Vietnam, while Vietnamese engineers would come to Japan to learn and work in TEPCO’s power plants. The Fukushima disaster has forced thousands to leave their homes, and with scientists expecting that clean-up efforts will take decades, some areas will have to remain uninhabitable for the foreseeable future.