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Vol.7 No.2previous AASP15 (106-107-108-109-110-111)- AA112-113 NT71

Academic Articles
Regular Paper Vol.7 No.2 (2015) p.154 - p.159

Status of Fukushima Daiichi Decommissioning and Decontamination Project

Douglas M. Chapin1

1 MPR Associates, 320 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, US


The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident occurred in March 2011 as a result of a major earthquake and tsunami. It is probably the second worst commercial nuclear plant accident in terms of on-site damage and off-site release; Chernobyl was the world’s worst. Japan has begun a huge, complex and expensive effort to recover from the accident at the site, prevent and reduce further off-site damage and health effects, and decommission all the plants on the Fukushima Daiichi site. A major plan and roadmap has been developed and is being pursued. The plan and roadmap are also continually reviewed, and are changed and modified as the actual accident conditions are discovered, and the detailed technical efforts and equipment to achieve success must be dealt with.
An overall project organization has been set up in Japan for the decommissioning. It involves several portions of the Japanese government such as METI and NRA. It also includes TEPCO, IRID and many other Japanese and International companies, R&D organizations, universities, laboratories, local governments, etc. The Japanese have also sought out and set up work with a small International Expert Group, the IEG. These six individuals have extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with the sort of problems and issues that must be faced at Fukushima. Much of this experience comes from dealing with nuclear plant accidents and problems, including severe core damage, at locations outside Japan. The author is a member of this group.
The paper provides an overall summary of the current status and organization of the Fukushima Decommissioning Project, and identifies several of the key organizations and their roles. The paper discusses technical issues and problems currently being pursued on the site, e.g., spent fuel removal, fuel debris removal, monitoring and controlling radiation dose on the site, and collecting, processing, storing and releasing water from the site.
Significant progress has been made. The wide range of Japanese and International organizations are energetically and effectively participating in the needed activities. Safety is improving and doses for off-site public and site workers continue to reduce. Damaged buildings and systems are being repaired, spent fuel removal progresses and radwaste cleanup and storage is underway. Successful pursuit and completion of tasks to date has provided important new information, resulted in better performance of many systems on site, and freed up resources to address important additional tasks. Significant R&D is underway, and is helping identify and produce new hardware and techniques to support needed tasks.
The Japanese estimate the Fukushima decontamination and decommissioning task will require 30-40 more years. Based on the data in hand, the author considers that this estimated duration is uncertain, but seems to be a reasonable estimate. The Japanese are strongly committed and dedicated to this effort being safely achieved, despite the high cost and major needed effort, and the author agrees this should be the expected and anticipated result.

Project organization, roadmap, key participants, current status, spent fuel removal, fuel debris removal, radiation dose control, site water handling
Full Paper: PDF EJAM Vol.7No.2 pp.154-159 "Status of Fukushima Daiichi Decommissioning and Decontamination Project"
Article Information
Article history:
Received 21 November 2014
Accepted 3 June 2015