U.S. Energy Chief Offers to Help With Fukushima Cleanup

Emphasizes "global significance" of decommissioning effort

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Damir Sagolj / Reuters

Officials measure the radiation level outside a shop in the evacuated town of Iitate in Fukushima prefecture September 18, 2013.

Amid growing concerns that Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) is not up to the task of safely closing down the defunct Fukushima nuclear plant, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has offered a helping hand.

“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 at a lecture in Tokyo on Thursday, the Associated Press reports. “Just as the tragic event had global consequences, the success of the cleanup also has global significance.”

The first major step in decommissioning the Fukushima plant will be to remove the fuel rods from the Unit 4 cooling pool, a procedure that is expected to last decades.