Japanese Nuclear Watchdog: Drastic Measures Must Be Taken at Fukushima

Clare Foran, National Journal
Oct. 29, 2013, 11:02 a.m.

The head of Ja­pan’s Nuc­le­ar Reg­u­la­tion Au­thor­ity, Shuni­chi Tana­ka, is call­ing for a drastic over­haul in op­er­at­ing pro­ced­ure at the Fukushi­ma Daii­chi nuc­le­ar-power plant to re­store safety, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports.

Tana­ka, the coun­try’s top nuc­le­ar reg­u­lat­or, ex­pressed con­cern about the man­age­ment of the plant in a meet­ing with Tokyo Elec­tric Power Pres­id­ent Na­omi Hirose, say­ing that a series of re­cent prob­lems at Fukushi­ma are un­ac­cept­able and can­not be al­lowed to con­tin­ue.

Tana­ka urged Tepco to con­sider ma­jor changes to day-to-day op­er­a­tions and the way it su­per­vises and trains its work­force. No con­crete plan for im­prov­ing ef­forts to de­com­mis­sion the plant’s three failed nuc­le­ar re­act­ors was de­cided upon, however.

In the month of Oc­to­ber alone, Fukushi­ma suffered no less than four sep­ar­ate in­cid­ents, in­clud­ing a stalled re­act­or pump, two sep­ar­ate leaks of con­tam­in­ated wa­ter from stor­age tanks, and a mis­hap where six work­ers were ex­posed to ra­dio­act­ive ma­ter­i­al.

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