Japan accepts help from France for Fukushima cleanup

News & Views - September 26th, 2013

Japan has finally agreed to international help to mop up the embattled Fukushima nuclear plant.

During the sidelines of the United Nations meeting Tuesday, Japan agreed to let France help decommission and dismantle the crippled reactors at the facility.

Tokyo Electric Power Co’s struggles to contain damages at the Fukushima plant was highlighted last month after it revealed that storage tanks were leaking about 300 tons of contaminated groundwater into the sea every day.

The revelation prompted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to step in, seen as a last ditch effort to save Japan’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.

It eventually won the much-coveted honor, not without pledges from Abe that the crisis was “under control”.

Tuesday’s move signals how little progress Japan has made in its attempt to decommission the plant nearly two and a half years since the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Details of the agreement were still not clear, including what support the French will be bringing in.

“We don’t know how the French will help. But we do know that France is one of the world’s leaders in nuclear technologies,” ABC’s North Asia correspondent Mark Willacy said.

A radiation filtration system by French nuclear firm was used at the Fukushima plant, ABC reports.

Russia reportedly offered to help Japan two years ago and says the offer still stands. State-owned Rosatom offered highly absorbent materials which would help handle the contaminated water.

The nation has warned that pumping water into the damaged reactors is not a workable solution.

By: Maesie Bertumen

Image of inspectors at Tokai Daini plant: IAEA Imagebank/Flickr