Rail lines will be built to run through a section of the Fukushima nuclear plant, in what officials hope will reduce the amount of radioactive fuel that leaks into the sea.
Officials have been scrambling to replace the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant’s two most contaminated sections of the track, one at the entrance to the plant and one at its main cooling system.
The tracks are being laid along a 1.8-kilometre (0.5-mile) stretch of railway in the central town of Kagoshima.
Construction of the new track was expected to begin in mid-September and finish by December.
A Japanese news agency said that the tracks are intended to run along the tracks that feed into the reactors’ cooling system, but it did not give further details.
Fukushima Nuclear Power Co said in April that the two sections of track could not be repaired because the cooling system was damaged in the 2011 earthquake.
In a statement, the company said the new section of track is being built “for the long-term benefit of the public, especially in the event of a catastrophic accident”.
Officials said the tracks will be located at the same level as the reactor cooling system to protect against damage to the reactors themselves.
Nuclear officials say the plant’s two reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan have been leaking radioactive material for decades, though they have not reported any major leaks.
There are concerns about the plant remaining open for years, given the magnitude of the earthquake and tsunami that followed the earthquake.
Officials have also said they will continue to monitor the health of workers at the plant.
“We will take necessary measures to ensure that no leakage occurs, including the use of special protective gear,” said Yoshio Abe, a spokesman for the Fukushima prefectural government.
Last week, Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said that his government is willing to help rebuild the plant, which is a major economic lifeline for the country.
Japan’s prime ministers office has been under pressure from the nuclear industry to do more to protect the public from the risk of radiation.
The government said on Friday that it is seeking $1.7bn from the Japanese central government for the reconstruction of the plant after the earthquake that hit on March 11.