jklmNARAHA, Fukushima Prefecture–A life-size model of a section of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that will be used in developing decommissioning technology is almost complete.

The mockup of the lower part of a reactor containment vessel will be used to develop remote-control technology used to locate the section from where radioactive water is leaking in order to repair damage, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency said.

A group of reporters from the Japan National Press Club were allowed to enter the test building of the JAEA’s Naraha Remote Technology Development Center in the town of Naraha.

The model is being built at the center by a consortium comprised of electric utilities and nuclear plant manufacturers. It is scheduled to be completed in mid-March.

Radiation levels near the reactors that went in meltdown in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster remain too high for workers to approach. The development of remote-control technology is key to smoothly conducting the decommissioning work, which is estimated to take 30 to 40 years.

The Naraha center also houses a massive screen on which a 3-D image of the interior of a reactor building can be viewed by wearing special eyeglasses.