Energy chief: U.S. has a "direct interest" in Fukushima cleanup

The U.S. stands ready to aid Japan, said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz

By Lindsay Abrams

Published October 31, 2013 1:02PM (EDT)

On a visit to Japan, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz proffered aid to the struggling effort to clean up and decommission Fukushima's crippled nuclear plant. From the Associated Press:

"We expect the relationship in the area of decommissioning between TEPCO and our national laboratories to expand and deepen in the coming years," Moniz said in a lecture Thursday in Tokyo.

"Just as the tragic event had global consequences, the success of the cleanup also has global significance. So we all have a direct interest in seeing that the next steps are taken well and efficiently and safely," he said.

Moniz's words come as Japan enters the first major phase of the decommissioning process, which will last decades. The removal of spent fuel rods from the damaged reactors, experts have warned, could lead to a worse crisis than the original 2011 disaster. On the heels of a number of incidents that have already occurred, Japan's governing party has proposed that Tepco, the plant's operator, be stripped of responsibility for decommissioning the reactors.

Lindsay Abrams

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Department Of Energy Ernest Moniz Fukushima Japan Nuclear Power