Honesty buys trust, Chernobyl hot zone manager says

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

Increased transparency, better information disclosure and clear explanations of technical matters were key to regaining the public’s trust after the Chernobyl disaster, a nuclear expert from Ukraine involved in the response to the 1986 meltdown said Monday in Tokyo.

Volodymyr Holosha, who is in charge of managing the exclusion zone under Ukraine’s Ministry of Emergency, didn’t directly discuss how the Japanese government responded to the triple-meltdown crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

But the central government has been criticized for delays in disclosing information as well as for shortcomings in communicating the risks involved.

“It is a tough challenge” to win back trust after shattering it by concealing information, Holosha told a Diet investigation panel on the Fukushima nuclear accident.

When it comes to radiation contamination and food safety, Holosha said the Ukrainian government has been keen to assure transparency through laws. He also said it is crucial to give clear explanations of what the information really means.

“For the general public, special terms like becquerels, sieverts and curies and numbers with these terms don’t give clear ideas of what they really mean. They don’t know how it really affects them, so they feel anxious,” Holosha said.