Tepco’s recent decision to decommission its Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant highlights one of the big challenges for both the power industry and the government — which has pushed for nuclear power as a matter of state policy — in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Combined with the Fukushima No. 1 plant where three reactors suffered catastrophic meltdowns more than eight years ago, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. now faces an unprecedented job of scrapping 10 reactors at around the same time, an effort that is estimated to take more than 40 years. Decommissioning a nuclear plant takes so long it extends across generations, and the operator needs to train and secure people with the needed skills and technology to sustain the work through to completion. The decommissioning of Fukushima No. 1 entails the extra tasks of removing the melted fuel debris from reactor containment vessels as well as disposing of enormous amounts of contaminated water. While the total expense of decommissioning the Fukushima No. 1 plant is expected to reach ¥8 trillion, scrapping the No. 2 plant is projected to cost ¥400 billion, although that amount does not include the cost of building a storage facility there to store more than 10,000 spent fuel assemblies.
Japan Times 17th Aug 2019 read more »