Ukrainian researcher visited Interim Storage Facility and Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants

As part of SATREPS Chornobyl project, IER hosted Ukrainian researcher Dr. Olena BURUDO for technical training from August to December 2022. Dr. Burdo has been studying the effects of radiation on wildlife following the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident. During her training in Japan, she visited a interim storage facility to store soil removed during decontamination work, and Fukushima Daiichi and Daini Nuclear Power Plants to learn about post-accident efforts in Japan. Also joining the tour was Dr. Solomon AMUNO, a researcher from University of Saskatchewan, Canada, who has stayed for a short period in Fukushima conducting field research.

  • November 25, Tour of interim storage facility

At the beginning of the tour, Dr. Burdo and other members received a brief overview about the current situation of the transportation of removed soil and construction work of the facility at the information center. They then head out on a bus for a tour of the facility.

Head to the site!
Observing the process of opening bags containing soil and sorting out non-soil items

The interim storage facility is constructed in between Futaba Town and Okuma Town, Fukushima Prefecture, surrounding Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, and covers an area of 16km2. We visited the southern part of the facility, located in Okuma Town. In the facility, there are still traces of people’s lives, such as houses, schools, community centers, shrines, and a nursing home that remains just as it was, when the big earthquake occurred on March 11, 2011.

View the entire facility from the hill.
Flexible container bags (filled with removed soil) collected from
temporary storage sites throughout Fukushima Prefecture.

In Chornobyl, there has been no large-scale decontamination as has been done in Fukushima, and the exclusion zone has not been reorganized since the accident 36 years ago. During the tour, Dr. Burdo listened with great interest to the explanation about the huge facility, the decontamination activities to restore a safe environment for people to live in, and the associated soil removal and disposal operations.

  • December 5-6, Tour of Fukushima Daiichi and Daini Nuclear Power Plants

Both Daiichi and Daini nuclear plants were hit by a tsunami after the earthquake on March 11, 2022, and lost the power needed to cool the nuclear fuels. The Daini, however, was able to secure an external power source, which prevented the accident, while Daiichi was unable to secure a power source, leading to a hydrogen explosion.

TEPCO staff explained the situation at the Daini immediately after the earthquake and how they were able to secure power and prevent an accident after the loss of power due to the tsunami. At the Daiich, Dr. Burdo and IER members learned about the circumstances that led to the accident at each reactor, the ongoing decommissioning work, and the ALPS treated water containing tritium that is scheduled to be released from next fiscal year onward.

Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant
At the hill where is able to view all facilities of Daini
Observing the actual cables that were laid by hand over a distance of 9 kilometers immediately after the earthquake to power
the reactor buildings at Daini.
Before the tour of Daiichi, learned how the serious accidents occurred at each reactors 1 to 4,
TEPCO Decommissioning Archive Center
Touched the bottle filled with ALPS treated water
Viewed the damaged reactors 1 to 4 from the hill in the Daiichi within the premises.

By actually visiting the plants, the participants were reminded of the seriousness of the accident and learned that decommissioning work is currently being carried out using all available technology and that concerted efforts are being made to prevent the generation of contaminated water as much as possible. Dr. Burdo seemed to be impressed by the differences in the post-accident response between Chornobyl and Fukushima, and asked a lot of questions. We hope that this visit will be useful for each researcher’s future research activities.