24 September 2013, 21:12

Ex-US nuclear safety chief slams Japan for slow response in Fukushima.

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A former US nuclear safety chief has accused Japan of being too slow to respond to radioactive water leaks at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.

After massive amounts of water were used to cool the plant’s molten reactors it became clear that leaks were only a matter of time, Gregory Jaczko told reporters in Tokyo. Both US and Japanese officials knew that and it’s unclear why it has taken Japan so long to tackle the problem, he said.

Jaczko, who resigned as head of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission last year, was in Japan at the invitation of a local civil group.

In July, Japan confirmed that contaminated water was leaking into the ocean.

Around 300 tons of mildly contaminated groundwater is entering the ocean every day having passed under the reactors, according to the plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

On Sunday, Japan shut down its last nuclear reactor that was still in use after the Fukushima breakdown caused by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Meanwhile, Japan’s opposition Democratic Party, which was in power when the disaster struck, acknowledged last week that plans to build a seawall to block toxic water leaks into the sea had been put on hold because TEPCO disagreed over the cost.

To improve the situation and allay public concern, the government is now funding the development of advanced water treatment equipment and the construction of a costly ice wall around the damaged Fukushima reactors.

Voice of Russia, Washington Post, Sky News

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