INTERNATIONAL ASSIST: U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said that he expects deepening cooperation with Japan over the high-stakes cleanup and decommissioning of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
AFTERMATH: The Fukushima plant has had a series of mishaps in recent months, including radioactive water leaks from storage tanks. The incidents have added to concerns about the ability of operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. to safely close the plant, which suffered meltdowns after being swamped by the March 2011 tsunami on Japan's northeastern coast.
FIRST STEP: Japan this week approved the removal of fuel rods from a cooling pool at a damaged reactor building considered the highest risk at the plant following its multiple meltdowns. Removing the fuel rods is the first major step in a decommissioning process that is expected to last decades at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.