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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fukushima Cleanup Is Really Just Beginning

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, left, listens to TEPCO President Naomi Hirose, as he tours the facilities at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. (Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, left, listens to TEPCO President Naomi Hirose, as he tours the facilities at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. (Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

It has been more than two years since an earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, but the delicate cleanup is really just beginning.

The process will take decades and could cost $100 billion. And there are questions about the ability of the plant owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), to do the job.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, who will be going into Reactor No. 4 at the Fukushima power plant tomorrow. There’s a huge amount of spent nuclear fuel in a cooling pool in that reactor.

“There are 1,300 uranium fuel rods inside this pool, a huge amount of material, more than was in the core of the reactor at Chernobyl when it blew up in 1986,” Wingfield-Hayes says.

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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