I visited the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Seven and a half years have passed since the nuclear power accident broke out. As a result of the Tokyo Electric Power Corporation (TEPCO) and the local governments’ efforts, the measures which have been taken to recover the damages caused by the accident have progressed to a certain extent. However, various issues, such as managing the water contaminated by radioactivity, and taking out the fuel and debris from the spent nuclear fuel storage pools, are piled up. Further wisdom to resolve these issues is said to be required.
I proceeded to the operation floor of Unit 3 of the plant wearing a heavily-equipped radiation-protection suit and a half-face mask. I experienced a bit of the hardships that all the workers had endured at the plant. I took lunch at the TEPCO’s staff cafeteria.
In addition, I was surprised to know how large the damages by the accident were. Cities and towns surrounding the plant are designated as a ‘difficult-to-return’ zone, and many former residents in the zone are still evacuating in different places outside the zone. Various issues are piled up which include the decontamination of radioactive materials, the maintenance of the interim storages to keep safely the soil and other wastes contaminated by the radioactivity, the operation of the landfill site for the disposal of the specific waste, and the monitoring of radioactive materials, etc.
When I left the plant, I had an opportunity to make the following speech to the concerned staff of the plant: “I would like to express my deepest respect to all of you for your efforts to recover the damages caused by the nuclear power accident. I sincerely hope you will fulfill your duties in spite of severe circumstances surrounding you to respond to the expectation of the people of our country.”