IAEA experts ready to start investigation


A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Japan on Monday morning to conduct a fact-finding tour and assess safety issues at the radiation-leaking Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The six members will join experts from a dozen countries for the 10-day mission, which begins Tuesday. The 20-member team, led by British Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations Mike Weightman, will meet Japanese officials and inspect the site of the worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl accident. The team is to report its findings in late June.

The experts will make a preliminary assessment of the accident triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region and deliver their findings at a ministerial meeting on nuclear safety to be hosted by the IAEA in Vienna between June 20 and 24, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said last week.

They also are expected to review the lessons learned from the Fukushima crisis and share their knowhow with Japanese authorities. Their findings will serve as important input for the process of reviewing and strengthening the global nuclear safety framework to be launched by the ministerial meeting, the nuclear watchdog said.