Fukushima Power Plant Two Years Later: Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz Tours Ruin, Reaffirms US Support

  @David_Kashi on November 01 2013 3:18 PM
Fukushima barriers
Waves wash above the barriers surrounding the Fukushima nuclear facility. Since the 2011 nuclear disaster, Fukushima has leaked a cumulative 20 trillion to 40 trillion becquerels of radioactive tritium into the Pacific Ocean. Courtesy / Reuters

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz toured Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station and reaffirmed U.S. support in the cleanup and decommissioning of the facility, which was destroyed in March 2011 by an earthquake and tsunami, the Department of Energy announced Friday.

"From the beginning, the United States has worked to support the government of Japan in the immediate response efforts and in recovery, decommissioning and cleanup activities,” Moniz said. “Within days of the accident, the Department of Energy sent a team of 34 experts and more than 17,000 pounds of equipment in support of efforts to manage the crisis.”

Utility crews have been struggling to contain leaks of highly radioactive water flowing from under the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean. It has been estimated that some 300 tons of toxic water enter the ocean each day.

Despite many setbacks, Japan has come a long way on this disaster in dealing with spent fuel removal activities with water challenges, Moniz said.

The U.S. and Japan created the Bilateral Commission in 2012 to strengthen the strategic and practical engagement on civil nuclear research and development. It also fosters collaboration on emergency responses, nuclear safety regulatory matters, and nuclear security and nonproliferation.

“As Japan continues to chart its sovereign path forward on the cleanup at the Fukushima site and works to determine the future of their energy economy, the United States stands ready to continue assisting our partners in this daunting yet indispensable task,” Moniz said.

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