An IAEA expert team today completed an initial review of Japan's efforts to plan and implement the decommissioning of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The International Peer Review of Japan's Mid-and-Long-Term Roadmap towards the Decommissioning of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Units 1-4 conducted its visit from 15 to 22 April 2013.
As requested by the Government of Japan, the IAEA team held extensive discussions with officials from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). The team also met with officials of the Nuclear Regulation Authority. The team visited the nuclear accident site to gain first-hand information about conditions at the power plant and progress toward decommissioning the facility.
"Extraordinarily committed workers have made significant accomplishments at Fukushima Daiichi since the March 2011 accident, but Japan continues to face difficult challenges as it works to decommission the site," said team leader Juan Carlos Lentijo, IAEA Director of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology. "We saw that TEPCO has achieved the stable cooling of the reactors and spent fuel pools at the site."
The 13-member IAEA team examined a wide variety of issues related to decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, such as the Roadmap's overall strategic approach, the current condition of the reactors and spent fuel pools, the management of the huge amount of accumulated water at the site, as well as the radioactive releases.
In a draft report delivered to Japanese authorities today, the team acknowledged a number of accomplishments that have been made to prepare Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station for decommissioning. For example:
In addition, the IAEA team provided advice in areas where current practices could be improved. For example:
"Our team received good cooperation from all our Japanese counterparts, who are remarkably dedicated to moving forward quickly, yet safely," Lentijo said. "I hope our mission can help their progress, and I know the international community is learning many lessons from the Japanese experience."
The IAEA team's final report will be delivered to Japan within one month.
Japan's request for the mission came in the context of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, endorsed by all IAEA Member States in September 2011. The Action Plan defines a programme of work to strengthen the global nuclear safety framework, and it encourages the use of peer review missions to take full advantage of worldwide experience.