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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 February 15 - 21  > Long and arduous way to decommissioning of Fukushima NPP
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2017 February 15 - 21 [SOCIAL ISSUES]
column 

Long and arduous way to decommissioning of Fukushima NPP

February 21, 2017
Akahata ‘window’ column

“We are working on a task without precedent. Nevertheless, our efforts have produced good results.”

This is a remark made on February 16 by a PR official at Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). On that day, TEPCO sent a “scorpion” robot into the containment vessel of No.2 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant which experienced a nuclear meltdown in March 2011.

However, the robot soon became hampered by unidentified objects and could not even confirm the type of debris or the existence of melted nuclear fuel there. The plant operator even gave up retrieving the probe device.

In terms of unprecedented challenges, space development faces similar challenges. In November 2005, the planetary probe “Hayabusa”, developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), successfully landed on an asteroid about 300 million kilometers from earth. Kawaguchi Jun’ichiro, the manager in charge of the pathbreaking project, said after the Fukushima disaster: “Space development projects are based on the assumption that humans cannot make repairs on the spot. I was shocked by the fact that Japan’s nuclear power projects seem to be unaware of this fundamental concept.”

Nearly six years have passed since the nuclear meltdowns, but TEPCO is still unable to present a plan B. The latest “investigation” demonstrates how difficult it will be to decommission the crippled reactors.

Past related article:
> Fukushima prefectural assembly demands decommissioning of Fukushima Daini NPP [December 22, 2016]
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