On his visit to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) to decommission the remaining two reactors in order to focus on fixing the problems currently plaguing the utility. Abe also stood by his commitment that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be safe, regardless of what’s going on at Fukushima.
Abe spoke to several reporters after touring the plant where he took a first-hand look at all the issues TEPCO is facing in the clean-up efforts, which includes the leakage of contaminated water from a storage tank that stores the water used to cool down the damaged reactors. Abe has told TEPCO to concentrate on solving this problem, even as the government has vowed to take a firmer hand in the midst of numerous gaffes from the utility operator. TEPCO President Naomi Hirose told the prime minister that they will make the decision on the decommissioning of the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors in Fukushima before the year ends and pledged to finish treating the radioactive water by March 2015.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abe said he will be working hard to “counter rumors” that seek to discredit his statements that the Fukushima situation is “under control” and that the Tokyo games will be safe. He was adamant in his reassurances to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that Japan is capable of hosting the 2020 games despite the ongoing problems at Fukushima but this did not go over well with some people, as they feel he was glossing over the real problems in order to win the Olympic bid. His Facebook post before going to Fukushima stated, “I will do my utmost to protect people’s health and the sea.”
[ via Reuters ]