Fukushima Plant Offsite Center Demolition Starts

Fukushima plant offsite center demolition starts

Workers have begun demolishing an offsite emergency response center that briefly served as headquarters for dealing with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident.

Offsite emergency response centers were set up across Japan after a nuclear criticality accident at Tokai Village, near Tokyo, in 1999.

The center in Okuma Town, Fukushima Prefecture, was completed in 2002. It became the central government's headquarters when the Daiichi plant was damaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

But just four days later, the facility was abandoned because its emergency power generator was unusable and interior radiation levels rose due to lack of filters and insulators.

The prefectural government decided to tear down the facility because new offsite centers have been built and housing plots are in demand there.

On Tuesday, workers carried chairs and tables out of the two-story reinforced concrete building. The demolition is scheduled to continue through next March.

Prefectural officials plan to move items related to the 2011 accident from the building to a disaster museum now being built. But some people are calling for the building to be preserved as a monument.