Tepco touts Fukushima Daiichi cleanup, but long road ahead

Tepco touts Fukushima Daiichi cleanup, but long road ahead
PHOTO: Reuters

TOKYO - Progress has been slow in decommissioning the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, four years after the devastating the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami led to a meltdown at the power station in northern Japan.

The government has drawn up a road map, published June 12, for mothballing the plant over the next 30-40 years. But the cleanup faces mounting challenges, particularly the removal of radioactive water from the site.

In late May, Tokyo Electric Power Company, operator of the Fukushima plant, said it had processed about 620,000 tons of highly-contaminated water stored in tanks. "We have been able to reduce risks significantly," said Naohiro Masuda, president of Tepco unit Fukushima Daiichi Decontamination & Decommissioning Engineering, at a news conference May 28.

The stored dirty water was a major stumbling block to Tepco's decommissioning effort, but the Advanced Liquid Processing System, or ALPS, and other devices have lowered the risk of environmental contamination and radiation exposure.

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