DOE Pulse
  • Number 360  |
  • April 9, 2012

Tokyo Electric Power Company visits DOE labs

TEPCO's visit to SRNL's shielded cells facility.

TTEPCO's visit to SRNL's shielded
cells facility.

Since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that damaged Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, DOE's Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) researchers have been involved with other national laboratories in DOE-led efforts to provide advice to U.S. and Japanese government officials, and to support the development of potential mitigation and recovery strategies.

PNNL and SRNL have developed significant science and technology capabilities for addressing the decontamination and decommissioning of major nuclear facilities in the U.S. The two national laboratories have been working together to bring the best and the integrated capabilities of both labs to bear on the challenges of Fukushima.

In late February and early March 2012, the two laboratories hosted visits with a delegation from the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) for a series of technical exchanges related to the Japanese nuclear plant. At the invitation of Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman, the nine-member TEPCO delegation visited Savannah River Site (SRS) and SRNL in South Carolina, and PNNL in Richland, Washington.

The visit built on two previous workshops held jointly by the Government of Japan and the U.S. Department of Energy, first in Tokyo and most recently in Washington state.

TEPCO delegates conducted discussions with PNNL and SRNL teams in areas that included radiation detection, fate and transport of radionuclides, treatment and reuse of contaminated water, inspection and characterization of spent fuels, stabilization and decontamination of reactor sites, as well as characterization, remediation and control options for contaminated soils, biota and water in surrounding regions. 

“We are honored to have been able to have a constructive dialogue with our TEPCO guests,” said Dr. Terry Michalske, executive vice president of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) and director of SRNL.  “Japan faces a long-term cleanup challenge in the years ahead, including many specific issues that are familiar to SRS.  We have a successful history of developing and deploying technology to support complex long-term cleanup and remediation; an important mission of a National Laboratory is to find ways to make that expertise available within the global nuclear community.  We also expect that going forward, we have much to learn from TEPCO that will be important to our own nuclear knowledge base.”

The SRS/SRNL sessions included presentations by TEPCO and SRS experts, along with tours of selected SRS projects and facilities operated by SRNS and Savannah River Remediation

“Continuing to share Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s capabilities in applied nuclear technologies with the visiting TEPCO delegation is both satisfying and rewarding,” said Mike Kluse, director of the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. “PNNL scientists continue to provide assistance both on-site in Japan and during visits like these from researchers and officials where we can carefully explore and assess safe and rapid options for recovery and remediation.”

Submitted by DOE’s Savannah River National Laboratory