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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

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