Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has given a pledge that the government will take on a greater role as they try to resolve the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The Nuclear Regulation Authority has raised the alert to Level 3 in the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), the worst since the meltdown of the three reactors last 2011.
Abe said that the solution to the problem cannot be left entirely with the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), who many believe to be incapable of resolving this issue. He pledged that the government will do whatever it takes because there is a strong sense of urgency in dealing with the leakage of the contaminated water from the plant. He has tasked Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Nuclear Regulation Authority chair Shunichi Tanaka to get to the bottom of what caused the leaks, and then to draft concrete steps to solve the problem. “The government will make responsible efforts to address the matter, and clearly and promptly inform the domestic and international communities,” Abe pledged.
This announcement comes after Abe’s African and Middle Eastern tour, as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency asking Japan to clarify their “confusing messages” about the situation at Fukushima. The international nuclear watchdog says the NRA has to prepare a proper explanation as to why they raised the level when other incidents have not merited any such action before. They also suggested that the government craft a detailed communication plan that would explain the safety implications of certain events at the plant instead of just using the INES levels. It is estimated that more than 300 tons of radioactive water has leaked from one of the tanks in the plant, with the suspicion that some of it may have already reached the Pacific Ocean.
[ via AFP ]