KYOTO - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday requested more foreign assistance in cleaning up the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, where work has been plagued by the radioactive water crisis.
“Our country needs your knowledge and expertise” in coping with the aftermath of the triple meltdown triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Abe said in a speech in English at an international science conference hosted by the city and Kyoto Prefecture.
“We are wide open to receive the most advanced knowledge from overseas to contain the problem,” he said.
Abe also said his government, which is taking over the cleanup, plans to host a separate annual forum on technologies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions next year. The first one will be held in Tokyo on Oct. 7 and 8.
Despite Abe’s reassurances to the International Olympic Committee last month that the leaks were “under control,” many Japanese believe he just swept the plant’s problems under the rug. One Diet lawmaker said he lied.
Ground water tainted by radioactive water exiting the plant’s cracked foundations has been entering the Pacific since soon after the March 2011 meltdowns. Its leaking storage tanks are compounding public concerns.
Tepco split under study
The Liberal Democratic Party is studying a plan to split Tokyo Electric Power Co. into two entities to accelerate the decommissioning of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 plant and contain its radioactive water, a senior LDP official said Sunday.
“We are discussing the idea of splitting Tepco into an entity in charge of all work related to the Fukushima No. 1 plant and another handling the rest of the firm’s operations,” Yasuhisa Shiozaki, acting chairman of the party’s Policy Research Council, said on a TV program.
The entity responsible for the crippled nuclear plant should assemble expertise from around the world, Shiozaki said, adding that the government should invest heavily in the entity to control it.
Otherwise, new problems could occur at the stricken facility, which was hit by three meltdowns during the March 2011 quake and tsunami, he said.