A team of nuclear experts from the United Kingdom will serve as consultants in the ongoing decommissioning process at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Lady Barbara Judge, the former chair of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and now the deputy chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO)’s Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee, is the one organizing the information exchange that is seen as a step that can help move forward the process that is expected to take decades to finish.
The engineers from Sellafield, the site of Britain’s worst nuclear accident, will be traveling to Japan to advise on how to effectively decommission the plant. The Fukushima plant experienced a catastrophic meltdown in 2011, in the midst of the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami. Judge believes that Japan will greatly benefit from the knowledge and experience of the engineers, and Britain in return, will also gain from learning about Japan’s nuclear industry. Japanese companies like Toshiba and Hitachi are actually helping plan the building of new nuclear power stations in the UK, the first to be built in decades. Toshiba in fact is buying a 60% stake in NuGeneration, a UK firm that will be building three plants in West Cumbria.
TEPCO is hoping that bringing in the decommissioning experts and Judge’s direction will help rebuild the trust of the Japanese people in them, after many perceive that they are making a mess out of dealing with the clean-up at the plant. They plan to launch a new subsidiary by April 1 that will be in charge of the decommissioning and decontamination of the crippled plant. This will be headed by a Japanese nuclear expert and the British engineers will serve as advisers.
[ via Telegraph ]