Sellafield expert invited to serve on Fukushima clean-up task force

sellafield logoA leading nuclear specialist from Sellafield Ltd has accepted a post on an international committee of experts which is helping to guide the clean up mission at the Fukushima plant in Japan.

Dr Rex Strong, who is head of Nuclear Safety at Sellafield Ltd, (a Nuclear Management Partners company), has over 30 years experience in the industry, most of which has been spent at Europe’s most complex nuclear site, in West Cumbria.

He will combine his new role on the Fukushima Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee – known as the Nuclear Safety Task Force – with his existing one as Head of Safety at the Sellafield site. The move comes as part of Sellafield Ltd’s recently announced relationship with TEPCO FDEC, the Japanese company responsible for cleaning up and decommissioning the reactors at Fukushima.

Dr Strong said: “It’s a privilege to have been invited to join such a prestigious and important committee – there will be much for us to learn.

“As nuclear operators we are part of a global network through which we can all learn, develop and improve. There are things which the Japanese are experiencing for the first time, as they start the process of decommissioning, which we’ve been doing for a long time at Sellafield, and at other nuclear sites in this country, and so I’ll be able to represent the UK and share our experience.

“The progress they are making at Fukushima is remarkable and I’m sure there will be lots of learning for me which I’ll be able to bring back to Sellafield.”

The committee on which Dr Strong will serve is part of TEPCO’s Nuclear Safety Oversight Office.
The office was established to enhance the risk controls regarding nuclear safety. It aims to gather the latest findings from around the world on nuclear safety, and then analyse and apply these to the mission in Japan.

The Nuclear Safety Oversight Office also monitors the status of safety awareness, operational processes at other nuclear sites, including Sellafield, and studies how these sites have been able to foster a safety culture, and communicate effectively with their local communities.

Sellafield Ltd’s Managing Director, Tony Price, said: “The skills and experiences of the Sellafield workforce in safely decommissioning nuclear facilities are a valuable national asset. I’m proud that Rex has been asked to take up this position; it’s a great honour both for Rex personally, and for the company to be recognised as global nuclear safety experts and to be able to support our Japanese colleagues.”

Dr Adrian Simper, the NDA’s strategy and technology director, who sits on the Fukushima International Advisory Team, said: “Congratulations to Rex on his appointment to this prestigious committee which will provide invaluable expertise to the Fukushima clean-up effort.

“The UK is playing an important role in assisting Tepco and the Japanese authorities in dealing with the complex situation at Fukushima which is testament to the high esteem in which our nuclear decommissioning industry is held across the international community.

“It is gratifying to see the learning and experience Sellafield Ltd has gleaned through tackling the complex challenges on site being utilised by our Japanese partners in their decommissioning programme.

“In turn, I’m sure Rex will bring back valuable experience from his role on the committee which can help drive forward the NDA’s mission to safely and cost-effectively clean-up Sellafield.”