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US energy chief offers Japan nuclear cleanup help; says small plants good option for future

TOKYO – U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says he expects deepening co-operation with Japan over cleaning up and decommissioning of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

Moniz says Thursday the world has a strong interest in seeing the next steps are “taken well and efficiently and safely” in the cleanup from the multiple meltdowns triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami on Japan’s northeastern coast.

Moniz was Thursday with top Japanese officials during his visit, including industry minister Toshimitsu Motegi, who is overseeing the government’s role in the plant cleanup.

He is due to visit the Fukushima plant on Friday.

Japanese regulators on Wednesday approved removal of fuel rods from an uncontained cooling pool at a damaged reactor building considered the highest risk at the plant.