Office of Environmental Management

EM Leads Successful Workshop Supporting Fukushima Cleanup

August 8, 2013

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TOKYO – An EM-led U.S. delegation conducted its third workshop last month to provide expertise to Japanese officials leading the cleanup of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant site and surrounding area, this time addressing priorities identified by Japan’s government agencies.

At the request of the Japanese Ministry of Environment (MOE) and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the delegation’s technical experts discussed their experience related to the behavior of radioactive cesium in the environment and other topics. The delegation included representatives from Savannah River, Pacific Northwest, Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos national laboratories, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

"EM is the world’s largest environmental cleanup program and has experienced tremendous success in much of our cleanup work. This workshop is one of the ways EM shares its experience and expertise with the Japanese government," said EM Office of Tank Waste Management Director Steve Schneider, who led the delegation. “I thought this workshop was a big success.”

As part of U.S. support for the Fukushima cleanup, EM and other organizations have been sharing information with Japanese officials regarding technical issues involved in the cleanup since 2011. This latest workshop built on the successful outcomes of workshops in Tokyo in 2011 and the Hanford site in 2012.

The EM Office of Intergovernmental and Community Activities, representatives from EPA and the Japanese delegation also participated in a roundtable discussion about potential lessons learned from EM and EPA stakeholder interactions, including work with the EM Site-Specific Advisory Board, which provides EM officials with independent advice and recommendations concerning EM site-specific issues.

The workshop marked the second meeting of a joint U.S.-Japan working group focusing on decommissioning and environmental management. EM and EPA co-lead the group, along with MOE and METI. The group is part of the U.S.-Japan Bilateral Commission on Civil Nuclear Cooperation, which was established to build on the close, collaborative relationship between the U.S. and Japan.

“We want to support the government of Japan in its cleanup effort and this working group is a mechanism for that U.S. support,” Schneider said.

The group is scheduled to meet in September in a video conference to plan future activities. One topic of discussion will be a report recently completed by three U.S. scientists from DOE and EPA stationed in Tokyo to support Fukushima cleanup through the U.S. Department of State Embassy Science Fellows program.