As Tokyo Electric Power Co. continues to battle the problems at its Fukushima Daiichi powerplant—on April 11 it reported another hydrogen explosion at Unit 1—the firm and the country are beginning to prepare for cleanup and reconstruction.

At a World Economic Forum on Global Risks, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that the regions hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami will be rebuilt as early as possible to withstand natural disaster.

“We will create ecotowns that are fully equipped with district heating, utilizing plant matter and biomass from the region and cultivating features of communities that thoroughly foster public welfare. We will proceed by moving forward with the world's most advanced reconstruction plan,” he said.

The Japanese government has cleared the way for TEPCO to fast-track the construction of new powerplants, according to Platts. Platts, like Engineering News-Record, is part of the McGraw-Hill Cos.

The Japanese Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will clear TEPCO to build new fossil fuel powerplants without filing environmental impact studies—the first such exemption ever granted, Platts reported. TEPCO plans to submit lost power generation replacement plans within a year. The Shaw Group, Baton Rouge, La., has presented the utility with a Fukushima Daiichi damage response plan.

TEPCO has managed to stop radioactive water from flowing out of the reactor pit at Unit 2 into the sea by injecting 6,000 liters of coagulant into the break and installing rubber boards and jigs around the unit. The International Atomic Energy Agency reported April 11 that 60,000 tons of contaminated water should be removed from the turbine buildings and trenches of units 1, 2 and 3. The IAEA says that the water will be transferred to the condensers of each unit and the plant's radioactive waste treatment facility.