TOKYO, April 4, 2014 -The man designated the new leader of the effort to clean up the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear site, Naohiro Masuda, says that addressing the challenge of contaminated water on the site, together with management accountability and worker safety, will be his top priorities.
Masuda, whose decisive actions while superintendent of the Fukushima Daini plant during the Great Japan Earthquake and tsunami were credited with preventing an accident, took on his role as Chief Decommissioning Officer on April 1. He heads a new organization within TEPCO, the "Fukushima Daiichi Decontamination and Decommissioning (D & D) Engineering Company," that will have focused responsibility for the cleanup.
"I take this role with full awareness of the great responsibility we have to the people of Fukushima, Japan, and the world to pursue this work diligently and safely through to its conclusion, no matter how long it may take," he said.
First priority, Masuda said, will be to address the persistent challenge posed by contaminated water on the site. Rainwater runoff and groundwater mix with water that has been contaminated from cooling the nuclear debris, requiring the treatment and storage of large quantities of water to prevent it from running into the sea. The company is pursuing a variety of approaches to reduce the amount of water that enters the facility, to prevent the water that does enter the facility from becoming contaminated, and to ensure that the water that is contaminated is treated and safely stored. These measures include a "groundwater bypass" system, physical barriers, and an advanced water treatment system, among others.
Masuda said he will seek the knowledge of "both international and domestic experts" to improve water management on the site.
In all its work, Masuda said, the new D&D Company will clarify lines of responsibility and demand accountability for performance. Project managers will be assigned to each project, and will be responsible for meeting targets and schedules, as well as managing risks and budgets.
At the same time, Masuda said he intends to strengthen cooperation with such international and domestic experts as the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID), and with the experts already serving on TEPCO's Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee, including Dr. Dale Klein, the former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Lady Barbara Judge CBE, the former chair of the UK Atomic Energy Authority. The D&D Company will also continue to work with Lake Barrett, a former U.S. Department of Energy official who led the government response to the accident at Three Mile Island. The company will include three vice presidents from nuclear manufacturers Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Toshiba, and Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy.
Working Conditions and Safety
Masuda said he intends to address concerns that have been raised about the contracting and subcontracting structure, and the supervision of those contractors by TEPCO. "We must emphasize a safety culture in everything that we do," Masuda said, "both to protect the workers and to remove distractions from their ability to safely perform the complex task at hand."
Working conditions will also be improved at Fukushima Daiichi, Masuda said, including the construction of new dining halls and restrooms.
Masuda's video is posted at http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/news/library/archive-e.html
The overview of the "Fukushima Daiichi D & D Engineering Company" may be found at http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/decommision/team/images/FukushimaDaiichiDandD_01.pdf (PDF 1.25MB)
The action plan of the company may be found at http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/decommision/team/images/FukushimaDaiichiDandD_02.pdf (PDF 8.28MB)
Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc. (TEPCO) is Japan's largest power company, supplying energy to the greater Kanto area, including Japan's two most populous cities, Tokyo and Yokohama. Its 35,000 employees are committed to providing safe, reliable power to its 28.8 million customers, diversifying energy resources to ensure sustainability, and contributing to economic growth while fully meeting its responsibilities after the Fukushima Daiichi accident.