Tepco set to restructure

02 January 2014

From around April this year Tepco is to be reorganised into two main sections: A power generation business and a separate division dedicated to decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi site.

Despite being named the 'Decommissioning Company', the new section is currently planned to remain within Tepco's overall corporate body, according to a schematic released by the firm. It will have three principal work areas: dismantling units 1, 2, 3 and 4; using units 5 and 6 as an international platform for developing techniques for that; and improving control of the contaminated water at the site.

Overseeing these areas would be a chief decommissioning officer, named as Naohiro Masuda, who would be able to take financial and human resources support from the portion of Tepco concerned with everyday power generation. Project management and on-site technical skills will be built up.

The new arrangement would have oversight from the prime minister and the cabinet via a 'decommissioning support organisation', but would have the freedom to "fundamentally review reporting lines and decision making processes in such areas as measures against contaminated water outflow into the port and contaminated water leakage from the tanks." It would also "create a structure where it may pro-actively use the expertise of both internal and external experts." Input relevant to this will come from the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID), which is already actively pursuing development of new technologies and methods with international input.

The country's nuclear regulatory system has already had an overhaul that has increased its competence, capacity and independence, but decisions on the suitability of actions at the plant - such as whether to discharge decontaminated water - remain subjects for public debate as well as technical consideration in terms of safety.

An objective of the Japanese government is to reduce its involvement in Tepco's overall operation and liberate the power generation business for a profitable future separate from the decommissioning task. The government would like to sell its shares in a restructured Tepco and gain what value it can to support the clean-up.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News