IRID To Take Over Fukushima Decommissioning Research

The International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID) has quietly taken over the research and development role at Fukushima Daiichi. The institute was being discussed months ago by workers from the plant. There was also a rumor they may build a mock reactor to test out ideas but that has not been confirmed. IRID appears to be a mash up of the nuclear village in Japan to try to solve the problem of how to deal with the epic mess at Fukushima Daiichi. TEPCO hasn’t been able to do it alone, even with considerable help from Toshiba and Hitachi working on site.

The group has gotten far less attention than the new committee set up by METI to deal with the contaminated water problem. IRID has at least the potential to do something significant. While the key players are all part of the nuclear village, they would have a vested interest in seeing Fukushima Daiichi cleaned up so it stops being a source of bad press for the industry. Since these same players also want to get back to business as usual, selling and generating nuclear power, it does come with some potential conflicts of interest. The institute was established in spring 2013 and given some form of official authorization from METI on August 1st. The institute has about 4 billion yen in funding for 2013 and will have about 600 total members or staff. It does seem a bit odd that the nuclear village is getting taxpayer money to figure out how to fix their screw up.

From the initial document released on TEPCO”s website, the list of companies involved and the key goals of their effort is outlined:

Press release (machine translation) of IRID
Main website

Founding members (17 corporation)
Independent administrative institution:
Japan Atomic Energy Agency,
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
Plant manufacturer:
Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd.,
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
Power companies:
Hokkaido Electric Power Co.,
Tohoku Electric Power Co.,
Tokyo Electric Power Co.,
Chubu Electric Power Co., Ltd.,
Hokuriku Electric Power Co.,
Kansai Electric Power Co.,
Chugoku Electric Power Co.,
Shikoku Electric Power Co., Ltd.,
Kyushu Electric Power Co., Ltd.,
Japan Atomic Power Co.,
Electric Power Development Co., Ltd.,
Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd.

Efforts undertaken:
Research and development according to prepare fuel debris removed
Development of containment leakage location specific technology
Development of remote decontamination technology of the reactor building
Development of containment internal investigation technology
Development of health technology assessment of the pressure vessel / containment
Development of critical management technology of fuel debris
Furnace situational awareness utilizing the severe accident analysis code
Development of fuel debris property identification and treatment technology
Development of containment repair technology
Research and development in accordance with the radioactive waste treatment and disposal
Development of treatment and disposal technology of secondary waste associated with the contaminated water treatment
Development of treatment and disposal technology of radioactive waste
Research and development in accordance with the spent fuel pool fuel extraction
Long-term integrity assessment of the fuel assembly other taken out from the spent fuel pool
Consider how to handle damage fuels taken out from the spent fuel pool

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