TOKYO – EM continues to assist Japan as it recovers from a 2011 nuclear accident through a newly formed bilateral commission established to build on the close, collaborative relationship between the U.S. and Japan.
Senior Advisor for Environmental Management David Huizenga and EM Office of Tank Waste Management Director Steve Schneider were among the members of a U.S. delegation led by Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman at the recent inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Japan Bilateral Commission on Civil Nuclear Energy Cooperation in Tokyo.
The commission serves as a senior-level forum for the U.S. and Japan to consult and collaborate on issues affecting the global development of civil nuclear energy. The commission will discuss future nuclear energy cooperation and advance shared interests in areas such as nuclear safety and security and decontamination and decommissioning.
Led by Poneman and Japan’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Koro Bessho, the commission established five high-level working groups, one of which will focus on decommissioning and environmental management. EM and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are leading that group and will work with Japan’s Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).
“EM looks forward to continued cooperation between the U.S. and Japan on the Fukushima site cleanup,” Huizenga said. “This working group led by EM and EPA provides a great opportunity for the U.S. and Japan to share knowledge and lessons learned from the accident and cleanup experience that may benefit both countries.”
The other working groups are involved with civil nuclear energy research and development, emergency management, nuclear security and safety and regulatory issues. The groups are scheduled to convene to discuss priorities and activities and provide updates to the commission in three months. The next commission meeting will be held in the U.S. in 2013.
EM’s involvement in the commission comes after two EM-led workshops in the past year to assist Japan's Fukushima cleanup efforts. The workshops, attended by several MOE and METI leaders, addressed technical issues involved in the Fukushima site cleanup.