As Tokyo Electric Power Co appears to have its cup empty with ideas on how to further manage the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the Japanese government has decided to step in and play a larger role in the still incomplete Fukushima clean-up project. The plant operator recently admitted, finally, that contaminated waters have reached the seas. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday that the situation is an “urgent issue” and has commissioned concerned government agencies to take on more of the responsibility in the clean-up.
TEPCO has been dealing with the Fukushima clean up since the near-catastrophic meltdown in 2011, but results are nowhere near satisfactory. Some problems have also emerged, prompting the Japanese government to take measures “rather than relying on Tokyo Electric.” Albeit reminders from the National Regulation Authority, TEPCO could not deliver positive results. Local residents, especially the fishermen, are angry over the latest news about the contaminated water seeping through to the ocean. The NRA Chief Shunichi Tanaka even described TEPCO of having ““no sense of crisis”.”
“The contaminated water problem is one that the Japanese people have a high level of interest in and is an urgent issue to deal with,” Abe said during a meeting of the task force assigned for the Fukushima disaster. He also assigned Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi to deal with the water-contamination issues at the plant and make sure that its operator will properly deal with the clean-up measures. Abe required that his orders be carried out urgently although the whole clean-up is expected to be completed in 40 years and could cost almost $11 billion.
The Liberal Democratic Party head also reminded Japan’s nuclear watchdog to make sure that a feasible solution will be made soon to end the Fukushima crisis. “To ensure safety, I would also like the head of the Nuclear Regulation Authority to do his best to find out the cause and come up with effective measures as a regulator,” the Prime Minister said.
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