Thursday, September 26, 2013

Japan agrees to foreign help with Fukushima

English: One of the photos taken at the Fukush...
English: One of the photos taken at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant tour sponsored by the Tokyo Electric Power Company on June 23, 1999.
To nuclear issues of another kind now, and Japan has finally accepted international help to sort out the mess at the Fukushima nuclear plant. 

It's agreed to let the French help decommission and dismantle it.

Our Tokyo correspondent Mark Willacy says it's a climb-down that signals how little success Japan has had stopping the spread of contaminant since the earthquake two and a half years ago.

MARK WILLACY: Well there are a couple of factors, Peter. Firstly, there's been a lot of international attention and consternation, as you'd imagine, about these leaks at the Fukushima nuclear plant. We have the seepage of about 300 tonnes of contaminated groundwater into the sea every day. 

We've also been told that there was a leak of 300,000 litres of highly radioactive water from a storage tank at the site. And that some of that water could have gone into the ocean. That's according to the operator TEPCO. 

So there's not just concern about that in Japan, but there's also concern in neighbouring countries such as South Korea and China. So there's a sense that Japan needs outside help, particularly to stem this flow of groundwater under the plant. Read more >>
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