A LEADING Japanese utilities firm visited Berkeley Power Station to learn about the site’s decommissioning work.

Ten visitors from the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) visited the closed site on Thursday, December 6 as part of a fact-finding mission to learn about the UK’s nuclear decommissioning industry.

TEPCO are one of Japan’s largest utilitiescomapnies and operate a number of conventional and nuclear power stations, including the Fukushima Daiichi power station which was the site of a nuclear disaster following an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

A series of equipment failures and nuclear meltdowns led to releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, making it the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986.

TEPCO delegates visited Magnox’s Berkeley site to learn about how the UK is decommissioning and cleaning up the legacy of the first generation of nuclear power stations.

Berkeley Power Station was one of the first sites in the world to place its nuclear reactors in ‘Safestore’ after the reactor buildings were sealed in 2010.

Site director Steve McNally said: "This is an opportunity to share best practice internationally.  Our visitors from TEPCO were able to learn about the decommissioning techniques used here at Berkeley and equally we were able to learn about the industry over in Japan."

The group also visited various other sites owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), including Hunterston ‘A’ in Scotland and the Sellafield reprocessing facility in Cumbria.

Adrian Simper, strategy director for the NDA said: "The UK is very well-respected around the world for the progress we are making on nuclear decommissioning – achieved through the use of innovative techniques and approaches being applied by our sites.

"We are extremely pleased to be able to support our colleagues in Japan as they develop their strategies for nuclear decommissioning and radioactive waste management."