Japan's nuclear regulator has approved Tokyo Electric Power Company's plan to decommission its stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The approval came 5 months later than initially expected.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority in December started examining the plan, including specific procedures and safety measures. The work is expected to take about 40 years.
The authority accepted the plan in a meeting on Wednesday, despite commissioners' requests that Tokyo Electric properly handle treatment of contaminated water and removal of spent fuel.
The NRA commissioners also said the utility must do more to cope with leakage of radioactive water from the plant and contaminated groundwater into the sea.
NRA's approval schedule was pushed back due to a series of problems at the plant. They include longer-than-expected time to inspect a facility to remove radioactive substances from tainted water as well as handling of contaminated water leaks.
The authority plans to step up its monitoring of the firm's safety measures in the decommissioning procedure and order it to repeat safety steps until they are conducted properly.
Aug. 14, 2013 - Updated 08:52 UTC