OKUMA, Japan (Reuters) – U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy pledged U.S. support for the clean-up at Japan’s tsunami-wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Wednesday after her first visit to the site.
Kennedy, dressed in a white radiation protective suit with her name taped on the back and a mask covering her face, went inside a damaged reactor building where she saw how Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) is removing fuel rod assemblies from a cooling pool.
Tepco has removed 814 out of 1,533 fuel rod assemblies from the No. 4 reactor since November.
“We stand ready to help in any way we can,” Kennedy, 56, told reporters after her visit, when she made a stop at a Tepco facility near the nuclear power plant.
Contaminated water accumulates at a rate of 400 tonnes a day at the plant as groundwater flows into the destroyed basements of the reactor buildings and mixes with highly radioactive water used to cool melted fuel.
About 1,200 to 1,300 tanks storing about 450,000 tonnes of contaminated water are on site and over the next two years Tepco wants to set up enough tanks to store 800,000 tonnes of water, said Kenichiro Matsui, a spokesman for the utility.