Japan has established a new research body which it hopes will bring together international experience in the decommissioning of nuclear power plants. Plans call for the institute to set up a research facility near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant.
The International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID) was formally established on 1 August. Hajimu Yamana from the Research Reactor Institute at Kyoto University, who has acted as chairman of the government's subcommittee for mid- and long-term measures for the Fukushima Daiichi plant, will be IRID's its new head.
"I see it as our nation's responsibility to actively promote R&D with the world, share a variety of knowledge and make use of them in nuclear safety research."
president of JAIF
The research institute will consist of over 500 experts from 17 organizations, including national research institutes, utilities and manufacturers, national broadcaster NHK reported. It will conduct research and development to improve technical standards and advice for decommissioning nuclear plants.
Takuya Hattori, president of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF) which had led calls for such an initiative, welcomed the establishment of IRID. he said, "I see it as our nation's responsibility to actively promote R&D with the world, share a variety of knowledge and make use of them in nuclear safety research."
Hattori note that joint international research on decommissioning of nuclear facilities, including the accident-hit Three Mile Island and Chernobyl power plants, "have added to accumulated technology and experience." He added, "The world's eyes are now turned to the decommissioning in Fukushima." By enabling the international community to participate in IRID, Hattori hopes that "researchers and organizations with technologies and experience may sit at the same table, agonize over problems together, think, discuss and develop approaches and strategies."
He also said that he hopes that the new research institute will strengthen nuclear human resources, particularly bringing in young people who may have turned away from nuclear science and technology following the Fukushima accident. "Decommissioning at first glance may seem like cleaning up after the party is over, but decommissioning at Fukushima presents challenges and opportunities no-one anywhere has ever faced."
"Decommissioning is a long-term effort, and active exchanges of researchers, engineers and technicians from around the world will also help bring about the rebirth and vitalization of Fukushima," suggested Hattori.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News