IAEA criticizes Japan's Tepco for underestimating tsunami threat
An International Atomic Energy Agency report Wednesday said it was the tsunami that followed the March 11 earthquake that damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
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''[The government] needs to make sure that not only are they independent in structure, but also independent in the resources, the expertise that they have available to them,” Weightman said.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Japan's nuclear crisis
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Goshi Hosono, the director of the government's nuclear crisis task force, told reporters: ''The IAEA is aware that [Japanese] regulatory authorities, including the nuclear safety agency and the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan, were not necessarily in the best shape and the current government also has such a view. So I think reorganization is inevitable.”
The IAEA report produced few new revelations, and its criticism of tsunami defenses was tempered by praise for the emergency efforts to cool the three Fukushima reactors that suffered meltdowns in the hours after the disaster.
It said: “The response on the site by dedicated, determined and expert staff, under extremely arduous conditions has been exemplary and resulted in the best approach to securing safety given the exceptional circumstances.”
Weightman said the team, which will present its findings to the IAEA in Vienna later this month, had been granted access to nuclear sites and received the full cooperation of Tepco and nuclear safety officials.
The inspectors described the evacuation and attempts to protect the public as “impressive and extremely well organized,” adding that a “suitable and timely follow-up program on public and worker exposures, and health monitoring would be beneficial.”
“It is clear that Tepco knew about the melting of unit 1 within the first 16 hours of the earthquake at the time, but did not release that information for two months,” he told the Monitor. “This had consequences for emergency services and evacuations, yet the IAEA ignored this.
“This, and so much more, was ignored and covered up by the IAEA. We had no confidence in the IAEA fact-finding mission before, and this confirms our position.”
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IN PICTURES: Japan's nuclear crisis