Sellafield Ltd has become the first to sign a cooperation agreement with the Tepco subsidiary responsible for cleaning up the Fukushima Daiichi site. The companies will share their decommissioning experience.
|Tony Price and Naohiro Masuda sign to cooperate, watched by UK energy secretary Ed Davey and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe
The text, signed in London yesterday in the presence of Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, will see the two companies "share expertise, experience and technology in radioactive waste management, clean-up and decommissioning."
Before the Fukushima accident the two sites were very different - Fukushima Daiichi being a large commerical nuclear power plant planning new reactors, and Sellafield being a national fuel cycle facility with many legacy facilities being dismantled. Now Fukushima Daiichi staff face much higher levels of radioactivity, uncommon mixes of radionuclides and difficult access to spaces in which to work - some challenges in which Sellafield managers have years of experience.
Head of the Fukushima Daiichi Decontamination and Decommissioning Engineering Company, Naohiro Masuda, said Sellafield was "a company possessing the latest knowledge concerning decommissioning and contaminated water issues, experiencing the decommissioning of the Windscale reactor and its radioactive waste storage facility."
Sellafield Ltd managing director Tony Price said, "There are many similar challenges that we'll be facing on our sites over the coming years and we can share our experiences, access to our supply chains and any advancements that come in the future. This will make sure we are both better equipped to deliver our respective missions."
One area of non-technical cooperation relates to communication with local people. "We serve similar communities," said Price, "and I know one thing the Japanese are keen to mirror is the way in which we work with our local community to inform them about the work we do in an open, transparent and proactive manner. We've already sent a delegation to Japan to talk to them about how we work in partnership with our local stakeholders."
Masuda said he would like to use foreign information and expertise, adding that "I believe our experiences obtained from Fukushima site must be really valuable and I think that information should be shared with the global nuclear industry."
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News