Noda draws on Fukushima lesson

Steps vowed to boost security, protection from radioactive fallout

Kyodo

Japan will boost measures to fight nuclear terrorism by drawing on the lessons learned from the Fukushima crisis, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced Tuesday at the global nuclear summit in Seoul.

Noda’s pledge came in a speech during the morning session of the second Nuclear Security Summit, where world leaders and representatives from 53 nations and four international organizations gathered to discuss international cooperation in boosting nuclear security.

“We must make use of the knowledge and lessons gained from the (Fukushima crisis) to prepare for ‘human-induced harm’ such as terrorist attacks on nuclear power plants,” Noda said.

His remarks came amid concerns that there may be similarities in the consequences of a natural disaster at a nuclear plant, as occurred in Fukushima Prefecture last year, and a terrorist attack on such a facility.

Noting how the crisis demonstrated the vulnerability of nuclear plants and how the loss of power supply threatens their safety, Noda stressed the need to establish procedures for responding to an emergency and to fortify backup electrical power systems.

Last March’s major earthquake and tsunami led to the meltdowns of three reactor cores at Fukushima No. 1, resulting in massive radioactive fallout.

Noda also underscored the importance of smooth cooperation among various groups when a nuclear crisis occurs — cooperation that was lacking in Japan.

He said he plans to bolster the readiness of Japanese authorities through joint drills involving the police and the Ground Self-Defense Force, as well as between the Japan Coast Guard and the Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Japan will also be ready to handle high radiation levels by providing better equipment such as protective clothing and vehicles that can withstand radiation, Noda pledged.

Among measures to step up security against terrorist attacks, Japan is considering conducting thorough identity checks on nuclear plant workers and will better guard plants and key facilities.

As for Internet-based attacks, Japan has cut off the computer systems of its nuclear facilities from outside networks, Noda said.

He said nuclear security, together with nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, cannot be addressed without global cooperation.

Against this backdrop, he described North Korea’s plan to launch a rocket, purportedly carrying a satellite, as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. It is widely believed the North plans to test an ICBM in April.

“The international community strongly urges North Korea to refrain from its launch,” Noda said.

Earlier in the day, Noda held talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President Barack Obama to exchange views about North Korea’s missile launch.