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Let the world help at Fukushima No. 1

Re: “Fukushima and the right to responsible government” by Colin P.A. Jones (The Foreign Element, Sept. 17):

It would be useful if the government of Japan would avail themselves of the assistance and technology that could be provided by foreign corporations with experience in the decommissioning of nuclear plants.

The United States successfully cleaned and decommissioned nuclear facilities at Hanford, Washington, Rocky Flats, Colorado, and Portsmouth, Ohio. Other projects are currently under way in both the U.S. and U.K.

Yet, American firms who have offered to help with issues at Fukushima have been repeatedly turned down by Tepco and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Recently, a METI official told me that Japan could not use American technology that was used to decommission Hanford because these were military reactors used in weapons programs. Fukushima is a civilian power reactor and, hence, the technology would not be appropriate.

Fuel rods inside the core of a nuclear reactor do not know if they will be reprocessed or put into a spent fuel pool.

This type of thinking harkens back to the fallacious argument that Japanese cannot eat American beef because their intestines are different.

The cleanup of any nuclear reactor will use the same technology, regardless of what the reactor has been used for.

The consequences of the continued delay in addressing the real challenges at Fukushima have international consequences.

So, why not allow the international nuclear community the opportunity to help?

THOMAS SNITCH
Senior Professor of Science
Institute for Advanced Studies
United Nations University
Tokyo

‘Jailhouse Blues’ for Tepco?

Elvis has left the building. Tepco is talking about water leaks. Three reactor cores have melted.

The hits just keep on coming. “Jailhouse Blues” can’t be far behind for the Tepco officials that have allowed this to happen.

I can feel the rock ‘n’ roll rhythms starting to get louder. How about you?

CHRISTOPHER NEIL O’LOUGHLIN
Los Angeles

Mary will be dearly missed

Re: “A friend to kanji learners worldwide” by Louise George Kittaka (Sept. 10):

Sadly, I learned today of the death of Mary Sisk Noguchi (Kanji Clinic columnist) last December.

For many of who have spent years climbing the mountain of learning and remembering kanji, she was a soft and understanding beacon who delighted in helping to light the way to becoming more proficient.

Like many others, I wrote to her asking advice and she answered personally, as she did with all such requests.

She will be dearly missed.

AMADIO ARBOLEDA
Adjunct Professor
Josai International University
Togane, Chiba

Send your comments on these issues to community@japantimes.co.jp.

  • Lilly Munster

    Mr. Snitch is dead wrong. “The United States successfully cleaned and decommissioned nuclear facilities at Hanford, Washington, Rocky Flats, Colorado, and Portsmouth, Ohio. Other projects are currently under way in both the U.S. and U.K.”

    Hanford is far from cleaned up. The same with Rocky Flats and Portsmouth. These facilities still sit with highly contaminated buildings, tunnels, soil and tanks. We will be struggling to deal with these sites for generations. Hanford managed to strip down a couple of the reactor buildings to the central portion where the reactor was. Then they encased it in concrete. They are still there. The US has failed to figure out how to deal with nuclear waste.

  • Doc Lem

    Well, the “why” no one wants to help question, is no a brainier. Getting near that mess is suicide.

  • William Burke

    Who knew the Japanese government has asked for help? I am pretty sure they’ve consistently spurned offers of help.

  • Justin Case

    They were asked if they wanted help. America even pleaded with them
    to let us send our own people into harms way to help them but the they
    refused and were arrogant about it. So, now they are on their own.
    These are suppose to be the most advanced people on the planet? They put
    nuclear plants on the most seismically active place on Earth and for
    some strange reason they never saw this one coming.

  • Justin Case

    How were they to know that such innocent power plants would be attacked
    by the sea? They are the most advanced people and even they could not
    predict such problems from their geologically calm island. If only
    someone would offer to help the people, the ancestors must be against
    them.