Japan to scrap reactors at Fukushima
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has instructed Tokyo Electric Power Co to decommission the last two reactors at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
The other four reactors at the six-reactor plant, devastated by a massive earthquake and towering tsunami in March 2011, are already set to be scrapped. Three of those four suffered meltdowns after the disaster and the utility is struggling to clean up the ruined facility.
Earlier this month, the company said in a statement that Lake Barrett, an independent energy consultant and former head of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Civilian Nuclear Waste Management, will advise it on steps to decommission the plant and contain contaminated water at the site.
Barrett, who was also a director for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission at the Three Mile Island plant, the site in Pennsylvania that suffered a partial nuclear meltdown in 1979, will join Tepco's clean-up effort this week.
In the 30 months since a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima plant, Tepco has been criticised for failing to tap foreign experts in dealing with cleaning up the site. The utility has come under increased scrutiny after it admitted last month that 300 tonnes of highly radioactive water had leaked from one of the hastily built tanks storing contaminated water at the site.
The Japanese government last week pledged nearly half a billion dollars to contain contaminated water problems at the site, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has stressed that the issue is "under control".