DOE delegation visits Japan for info exchange

September 1, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
DOE-EM senior advisor Ike White provided remarks to the audience during 7th International Forum on the Decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. (Photo: DOE)

Senior advisor Ike White and others with the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management traveled to Japan this week to attend the 7th International Forum on the Decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

The delegation was there to learn about the latest progress of the Fukushima Daiichi cleanup and to share information on the technical aspects and stakeholder engagement during decommissioning and remediation activities of U.S. nuclear legacy sites.

“This event brings together such a tremendous wealth of knowledge, expertise, and experience,” said White. “Listening to presenters and to other participants at the forum has been very informative. Through our international partnerships, we can continue to work together and learn from each other.”

A story mapper provided a summary of day one of the forum. (Photo: DOE)

The forum: More than 500 attendees participated in the two-day event, hosted by Japan’s Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation (NDF), which provided the forum for discussion of Fukushima Daiichi’s decommissioning and the future of the community.

The first day of the event featured a question-and-answer session about the cleanup with a panel of Japanese and international government officials, industry leaders, and local community members. The panel included local high school students who voiced their desire to imagine a new future for Fukushima prefecture impacted by “3/11” (how the earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear accident are referred to by Japanese people). The conversation was captured by a story mapper who recorded the dialogue using pictures, words, and symbols.

On the second day, technical experts discussed debris retrieval at Fukushima Daiichi. A technical abstracts poster session was also held, which included a poster produced in collaboration with Idaho National Laboratory.

White (right) and other forum participants viewed the progress underway at the Fukushima Daiichi plant during a tour. (Photo: DOE)

The tour: As the DOE delegation and other participants gathered in Iwaki, a city near Fukushima Daiichi, for a tour, NDF president Hajimu Yamana gave some opening remarks for day two of the forum: “Twelve years and five months have already passed since the nuclear accident” he said. “I would like to express my respect to the efforts of the local people who have been working step by step toward reconstruction despite difficulties. In parallel with the progress of reconstruction, significant progress has been made in the response to the decommissioning.”

In remarks delivered later on the second day of the forum, White noted signs of progress in the cleanup that he observed during the tour. “The U.S. is very grateful for the work undertaken by NDF and the success already achieved in the Fukushima cleanup,” he said.

Past engagements: In 2020, DOE-EM officials joined other government and industry representatives to explore potential collaborations between the United States and Japan in virtual workshops. Those workshops, which focused on decommissioning work in Japan, were hosted by Japan’s Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry and supported by DOE-EM’s Office of Intergovernmental and Stakeholder Programs. A year earlier, DOE-EM hosted a tour at INL for Japanese engineers who were helping with the Fukushima Daiichi cleanup.

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