NHK has learned that the operator of the crippled nuclear plant in Fukushima plans to sign an agreement with a French organization to obtain the necessary technology to decommission the facilities.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, will initially focus on decontaminating the areas around the reactor containment vessels.
The removal of molten nuclear fuel will be the toughest challenge in the decontamination process because of the extremely high radiation levels.
TEPCO plans to obtain technical knowhow from the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, or CEA, which is funded by the French government. The French organization has expertise in dismantling aged nuclear reactors and fuel-reprocessing facilities.
Sources say that under the agreement, the CEA will help TEPCO to develop remote-controlled robots that can withstand high radiation levels.
The CEA will also help with training workers and TEPCO will provide data for the decommissioning process.
This will be TEPCO’s second agreement with a foreign organization. Last year, it signed a pact with a British company to address the buildup of contaminated water.