UK support for Fukushima clean-up

14 April 2016

Sellafield Limited and Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) have issued a White Paper - the "Fukushima-West Cumbria Study" - describing how they will work together to improve each other's efforts to communicate and engage with stakeholders with respect to their respective decommissioning activities. The aim is to share Sellafield's 60 years of experience in West Cumbria, and Tepco's five years of experience in decommissioning Fukushima Daiichi, and to expand the dialogue beyond the two companies to include the West Cumbria and Fukushima communities.

Sellafield Ltd and Tepco agreed to cooperate in decommissioning in May 2014 and signed a statement setting out the objectives and significance of their agreement. The cooperation statement was followed in September 2014 with a formal agreement to enable the transfer of knowledge and experience between the two companies. The four main areas set for information exchange through that agreement were: site management; environmental monitoring; radiation protection; and, project delivery and design engineering.

Tepco displayed a Fukushima Daiichi mapping system, utilising geographic information system technology, at the Decommissioning Technology Exhibition which was part of the first International Forum on the Decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station held on 12 and 13 April. The mapping system uses technology developed by Sellafield to provide advanced analytical mapping at the plant.

Also on12 April, UK-based Amec Foster Wheeler announced that its proprietary technology is to be used in a research and development programme at the Fukushima-Daiichi site to make radioactive waste safer. The work, carried out in partnership with Fuji Electric on behalf of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, will centre on the "Sial matrix", a specialised geopolymer technique for encapsulating various radioactive waste streams. Amec Foster Wheeler did not disclose the value of the contract. The research will test whether Sial can be used to solidify sludge arising from the damage at Fukushima-Daiichi caused by the March 2011 earthquake. Amec Foster Wheeler said Sial has been used successfully at a number of NPPs in Europe over the past 20 years. It enables the transformation of radioactive waste into a much safer solid form which is easier to handle, transport and store.

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