Japanese Gov't to Fund Decommissioning Technology
TOKYO, Jan. 9 (Kyodo) — The government plans to set aside more than 80 billion yen in an extra budget for fiscal 2012 to build facilities for the development of technologies useful for scrapping the crippled reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.
One facility will be built as a center to develop robots that can check the damage of reactor containers and conduct repair work in a high radiation environment. Another facility will offer a place to analyze radioactive substances created by the disaster.
The government plans to use the money in the form of investment to the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, the sources said. The facilities are also expected to create jobs for Fukushima Prefecture and support its reconstruction.
The government hopes to attract researchers in and outside Japan to the northeastern prefecture so that it can become an international hub for radiation study in the future.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster, triggered by a huge earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, resulted in core meltdowns of three reactors. The government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. expect decommissioning work to take up to about 40 years.