Former NRC Chair Helping to Reopen Fukushima Plant

Dale Klein, a former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission who now chairs TEPCO's Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee, told the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan that he's optimistic that the company will prevail in its cleanup at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc., known as TEPCO, Japan's largest power company, reported April 1 that Dale Klein, a former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission who now chairs TEPCO's Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee, told the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan that he's optimistic that the company will prevail in its cleanup at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, which was severely damaged by a tsunami in March 2011.

Klein chaired a meeting of the committee "where he and other committee members mixed praise for TEPCO's overall progress with admonitions that its communications with the public must continue to improve. The Committee is overseeing an independent review of the belated disclosure of the fact that contaminated drainage water had reached the sea," according to the company.

Klein said progress at Fukushima and at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, for which TEPCO has sought government permission to restart, has been significant, according to TEPCO's news release, which said at Fukushima, he said progress in removing the spent fuel from Unit 4 was notable for the safe method in which it was done. The complicated removal of formerly molten fuel debris in Units 1, 2, and 3 will be challenging, he said, but he said that the technology for doing it "will be within the reach of Japan's extensive experience with robotics."

"It has been an honor and a privilege to be asked to play a role in helping TEPCO and Japan recover from March 11," Klein said. "I know that, in the long run, TEPCO, Japan, and its people will meet the many challenges ahead and prevail."

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