Nuke plant was unprepared for crisis, government admits


Staff Writer

The government on Tuesday compiled a report on the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant for submission to the International Atomic Energy Agency, underlining the need to reinforce measures against earthquakes, tsunami and other calamities.

In the report, the government admits that the crippled plant lacked the necessary features to survive the huge tsunami and other critical accidents of March 11. The plant was not built with considerations to withstand 14-meter tsunami or higher.

“It is unavoidable to fundamentally review the safety measures for nuclear plants” in Japan, states the report, which will be presented at an IAEA ministerial meeting beginning June 20.

“We think it’s our responsibility to provide information about this accident with the maximum transparency to the global society to contribute to securing the safety of nuclear power,” industry minister Banri Kaieda said.

The plant experienced the loss of all kinds of power sources due to the tsunami, which led to the inability to cool the troubled reactors. The report underscores the need to have more power sources and cooling equipment, such as air-cooled diesel generators.

The report also urges the government to draw up a law requiring the power utilities to prepare adequate crisis-management strategies.

Such strategies should be prepared to mitigate the effects of severe nuclear accidents as much as possible, the report says. Currently these response plans are not mandatory.

Although Tokyo Electric Power Co. had crisis management strategies in place, they did not work effectively. Thus, the report calls for a legal framework.

The report says more independence should be given to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety, the government’s nuclear watchdog, by separating it from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Call for nuclear reform


Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto called Monday at a foreign ministerial session of the Asia-Europe Meeting in Hungary for enhanced international cooperation in responding to nuclear accidents and strengthening nuclear safety standards.

In a speech after the meeting’s opening ceremony, Matsumoto also expressed Japan’s resolve to share data in full with the international community regarding the nuclear crisis.