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Monday, 28 October 2013

Nuclear watchdog urges TEPCO to take drastic action on Fukushima

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Nuclear watchdog urges TEPCO to take drastic action on Fukushima
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) President Naomi Hirose, right , Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) Chairman Shunichi Tanaka, second from left, and Secretary-General of the NRA Katsuhiko Ikeda bow prior to their meeting in Tokyo, Monday.AP Photo
TOKYO —
Japan’s nuclear watchdog on Monday urged “bold and drastic” action to fix problems with radioactive water at Fukushima, as it warned of the growing risks over coming months.
Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, told the president of operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) that no expense should be spared in getting to grips with the water leaks that have beset the plant over the last half-a-year.
He also told Naomi Hirose that the removal of spent nuclear fuel rods from a cooling pool, which is due to begin next month, would be a difficult and complicated task.
Tanaka urged Hirose to “carry out bold and drastic reforms and make a long-term plan that can reduce uneasiness”, according to Katsuhiko Ikeda, secretary-general of the authority, who also attended the meeting.
In particular, Tanaka asked the company to send more engineers to the plant and update facilities there “without sparing money”, Ikeda told reporters.
TEPCO is battling to clean up the mess caused when reactors went into meltdown after the March 2011 tsunami struck and knocked out cooling systems.
Thousands of tons of water, used since then to cool reactors or polluted after picking up radioactive material, is being stored in huge storage tanks at the site on Japan’s northeast coast.
A series of setbacks including water leaks that have carried radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean have rocked confidence that Asia’s largest utility can tame the world’s worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl.
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Japan today:
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