As the government announced that it will take charge of TEPCO’s unaccomplished responsibility of containing contaminated waters from Fukushima power plant, among others, there may be a need to utilize the country’s emergency funds. About $3.5 billion may be needed by the central government to work on the never-ending Fukushima clean-up issues.
Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi visited the Fukushima facility on Monday and deemed it necessary for the government to “get fully involved.” He also said that he will deploy a task force for the nuclear facility’s clean-up needs. “For measures that require sophisticated technology, we will appropriately implement them as the government while collaborating with authorities on fiscal measures, including the use of a reserve fund,” Motegi said. Such fund will be taken from the state budget for the end of the fiscal year.
During a conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, “It is necessary for the country to step forward and offer support to solve the problem as well as prevent a recurrence.” The government has finally offered assistance following TEPCO’s admission of a 300-ton contaminated water leak from one of its storage tanks. Fortunately, it was only one storage tank, while the others were found intact. Still, the incident prompted the Nuclear Regulation Authority to raise the warning level at the facility, from a level 1 “anomaly” to a level 3 “serious incident.” Minister Motegi, whom according to Sec. Suga was commissioned to take measures in controlling and managing the Fukushima situation, has given TEPCO the responsibility to replace its rubber-held storage tanks, which were even reported to have been recycled. The Trade and Industry Minister also expects the Fukushima operator to replace their rubber seals with welded seams, for obvious reasons.
Even Russia has offered help for the Fukushima clean-up. They made the same offer two years ago. “In our globalized nuclear industry we don’t have national accidents, they are all international,” said Rosenergoatom First Deputy Director General Vladimir Asmolov. He also encouraged Japan to use non-Japanese technologies as the country’s approach in cooling and decommissioning the facility has not been successful. France and the United States may also be expected to offer assistance in the Fukushima situation. In search for better solutions, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida flew to Ukraine to see first-hand how the greatest nuclear disaster in the last three decades was managed. In his visit to Chernobyl on Sunday, Kishida admitted directly seeing that the “battle to contain the accident still continues 27 years after the disaster.” The Foreign Minister believes that Ukraine’s experience and knowledge will serve as “useful reference for workers coping with the Fukushima nuclear crisis.”