Tepco To Accept Foreign Workers At Fukushima Plant

TEPCO to accept foreign workers at Fukushima plant

The operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant says it will accept foreign workers hired under Japan's new visa program for work to decommission the facility.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says it reported the decision at a meeting in late March to dozens of companies carrying out the decommissioning. The firm had not permitted foreign trainees to take part in the work.

TEPCO noted that construction, industrial machinery and automobile maintenance will be relevant to the decommissioning. The utility also told the contractors to make sure they hire foreign workers legally.

A revised immigration law that took effect on April 1 allows foreign nationals with certain vocational skills to work in a range of sectors under a new visa category.

About 4,000 people work at the plant every day. The facility suffered a triple meltdown following the major quake and tsunami in March 2011.

Most of the plant's compound is radiation-controlled areas where workers must carry dosimeters and know how to protect themselves from radiation exposure.

TEPCO says it's not aware of a shortage of workers in the decommissioning process, but that it is up to the contractors to decide whether to hire foreigners under the new visa category.