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Japan Nuclear Crisis: Serious Still

  • April 1st, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

fukushima-1411.jpg“Overall at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the situation remains very serious”, says the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, three weeks after the earthquake (11.3.11).
TESTS ON THE GROUND

The authority has published reports from a joint field operation it has been running with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Japan, checking pollution from radiation in foodstuffs and water.

Along with Japanese government and industry officials, and the company that owns the Fukushima plant, it has identified increasing levels of pollution in plants, in the air, fresh water and the sea.

These remain low in terms of human and environmental endurance but it has focused concern about an evident constant leak of contaminated water, where the source has not yet been traced.

The IAEA/FAO team has been given access to data collected by Japanese agencies, and it has identified one village with potentially excessive pollution levels, outside the declared evacuation zone.

See latest IAEA briefing: http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html, (31.3.11).

Two of the six reactor facilities at the Fukushima plant are in cold shut-down, with hundreds of crew-members still working on the others; damaged when the earthquake hit, the tsunami then cutting back-up power for their cooling systems.

FRANCE: SPECIAL CONCERNS

The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has become the first foreign head of government to visit Japan since the accident.

He pledged support (31.3.11) for international gatherings of officials to review and improve nuclear safety systems.

In France itself, the head of the Nuclear Safety Authority, Andre-Claude Lacoste, was telling a parliamentary hearing that more work had to be done on nuclear safety, in case of natural disasters – a lesson from Japan.

“Nobody can guarantee that there will never be a nuclear accident in France”, he said.

France as Europe’s most nuclear-addicted country draws just under 80% of its electricity form 59 nuclear power plants.

Like other European countries it has been committed to a comprehensive nuclear safety audit since this month’s accident in  Japan, with a Europe-wide program now to be co-ordinated from Brussels; see EUAustralia Online, “New nuclear safety regime for Europe?”, 22.3.11.

The IAEA has announced it will bring together senior government representatives from around the world, for a high level Ministerial conference on nuclear safety, at Vienna in June (20-24.5.11).

Reference

IAEA, Vienna, “IAEA Briefing on Fukushima Nuclear Accident (31 March 2011, 14:00 UTC)”, 31.3.11.
http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html, (31.3.11).

Katrin Bennhold, “In France, Japanese disaster prompts a nuclear safety audit”, NYT, NY, 31.3.11. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/01/world/europe/01france.html?src=twrhp, (31.3.11).

Picture  IAEA

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