Nuclear Experts from UK to Help in Fukushima Decommissioning, Province Commits to Use 100% Renewable Energy by 2040

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | February 3, 2014 5:10 PM EST

A team of nuclear experts from the United Kingdom is currently being lined up to help in the decommissioning of the crippled Fukushima power plant in Japan. They are engineers from Sellafield, where one of Britain's worst nuclear accident, occurred.

REUTERS/Kyodo
The No.4 reactor building (top) and the building housing the commonly spent fuel pool are seen at Tokyo Electric Power Co's (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture, in this aerial view taken by Kyodo, November 18, 2013. TEPCO began on Monday removing 400 tonnes of the dangerous spent fuel in a hugely delicate and unprecedented year-long operation fraught with risk. Credit. REUTERS/Kyodo

Britain's involvement was committed by Lady Barbara Judge, former chair of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and now the deputy chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO)'s Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee.

"At Sellafield and Dounreay we are decommissioning big power plants and we can provide a very good example to the Japanese of how to do it safely," Lady Judge said in an interview with The Telegraph. "I've been talking to Sellafield about sending some engineers to help."

"A lot of knowledge will go between Japan and the UK," Lady Judge said. "Helping the Japanese, will also help the Brits. We will benefit from working in Japan, the nuclear industry will benefit, and R&D will flourish in both countries."

Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), operator of the doomed Japanese nuclear power plant, had been working towards a safe shut down of the plant. The company likewise hoped UK's intervention would help the country win back the confidence of the people towards nuclear energy and eventually pave the restart of Japan's 48 functioning atomic reactors.

The province of Fukushima however has committed to depend only on renewable energy by 2040.

"It's one of the very few chances this place actually has," Stefan Schurig from the World Future Council was quoted by portal Eco-Business. "I felt a very real hopelessness to cope with the situation, but also we need to change something, we need to look into the future."

He cautioned however that Japan still has a long way to go because the official government position is very pro-nuclear.

"In setting this target, the mayor provides his people with a new vision, with a positive spin that it the only possible strategy to convert this negative connection with Fukushima and spin it into a positive tone," he said.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Kyodo / )
The No.4 reactor building (top) and the building housing the commonly spent fuel pool are seen at Tokyo Electric Power Co's (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture, in this aerial view taken by Kyodo, November 18, 2013. TEPCO began on Monday removing 400 tonnes of the dangerous spent fuel in a hugely delicate and unprecedented year-long operation fraught with risk. Credit. REUTERS/Kyodo
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