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TEPCO bears responsibility for decommissioning over generations via Asahi Shimbun

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has announced that it will decommission all four reactors at its Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant.

The decision indicates the landscape of nuclear energy in Japan is entering an age of mass decommissioning.

TEPCO plans to work concurrently to scrap a total of 10 nuclear reactors, including all six at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the site of the 2011 disaster. The task will be almost unparalleled and unprecedented in the world in terms of its scale.

TEPCO should fulfill its momentous duties in undertaking the task to help rebuild disaster-stricken communities of Fukushima Prefecture.

It took TEPCO an entire year to make the latest decision after the utility said last year it would consider the decommissioning option. That is enough evidence there are high barriers to be surmounted.

One difficulty consists in ensuring the availability of workers.

A staff of 3,600 is currently working to scrap the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, where four reactors went crippled. Work to grasp the full picture of the reactor interiors, where nuclear fuel melted down, remains in a trial-and-error stage and is facing extremely rough going.

The latest decision means the Fukushima No. 2 plant, a logistic support base for those efforts, will itself be an additional site of decommissioning work.

TEPCO officials said they have largely figured out how the work will be done. We are left to wonder, however, how they plan to get all the necessary, highly skilled workers.

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