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Interview: TEPCO hopes for Fukushima decommissioning techs to prevail

Tokyo, March 4 (Jiji Press)–A senior Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. <9501> official has expressed hopes that technologies and human resources developed through the decommissioning of the company’s disaster-crippled nuclear reactors in Fukushima Prefecture will spread throughout the world in the future.

“It’s difficult at the moment to define what decommissioning nuclear reactors means, so we’ll need discussions on the matter,” Akira Ono, head of TEPCO’s in-house company for the work to decommission the reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, said in an interview, held ahead of the ninth anniversary of an unprecedented triple meltdown that occurred at the plant in the northeastern Japan prefecture following the March 11, 2011, powerful earthquake and tsunami.

But Ono added that progress in decommission-related technologies is expected to help generate employment and new technologies.

“It would be ideal for ‘made-in-Fukushima’ technologies and human resources to flourish in Japan and other parts of the world,” he said.

Asked about the progress in the decommissioning work in the past year, Ono said, “We have had some problems, but the work is going well these days as we started to remove fuel from the No. 3 reactor and dismantle the exhaust stacks of the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors.”

TEPCO’s management of treated water at the plant, which still contains radioactive tritium, has become more reliable, with the transfer of the tainted water to welded storage tanks having now completed.

On recent mistakes and problems, Ono said that “we need to understand how the work is going on the ground,” rather than leaving the matter to partner companies. “We hope to firmly establish processes to figure out how the work is progressing,” he said.

TEPCO aims to reduce the daily amount of radiation-tainted water generated at the plant to some 150 tons within this year.

“We can achieve the goal as we’re working hard on the issue, including fixing holes on the roofs of plant buildings so that rainwater does not get in,” Ono said.

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