Reactor-scrapping research facility to be built in Fukushima
TOKYO, April 2 (Kyodo) — The Japanese government said Tuesday it will build a research facility for decommissioning reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in the town of Naraha, some 25 kilometers south of the crippled nuclear power plant.
The government's panel on decommissioning the reactors at the disaster-hit complex will set up a real-size model of a reactor container there and use remote-controlled robots to develop the technology needed to identify damaged reactor parts and repair them.
The government plans to conduct geological surveys of the candidate site in Fukushima prefecture and to launch the operation of the facility around March 2015, officials said.
There were three candidate sites for the facility in Naraha where the dosage of radiation is relatively low, and the one chosen by the panel is some 2-3 km away from a port and an expressway exit. The dosage of radiation at that site stands at 0.3 microsievert per hour, the officials said.
If the geological survey shows that the picked site is not suitable for the research facility, the panel will look at the remaining two candidate sites, they said.
The government has earmarked about 85 billion yen in its fiscal 2012 supplementary budget for establishing the research facility and also a separate facility aimed at analyzing samples of melted nuclear fuels.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi power station, has said it will decommission four of the six reactors at the plant.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during a Diet session last Friday that it would not be easy to re-start the two reactors at the disaster-hit plant and four reactors at the Fukushima Daini plant, all of which are currently shut down, considering the strong opposition among residents and local governments.