UN nuclear energy agency sends team to assist at Fukushima

In Other News - October 16th, 2013
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A UN nuclear watchdog sent a team of experts to Japan to assist decontamination efforts and radioactive waste management at the badly-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant.

Radiation experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency met Japanese government officials in Tokyo on Monday.

The 16-member IAEA team will check on progress of the cleanup at the stricken plant and conduct a follow-up mission on contaminated areas surrounding the site.

The experts also plan to coordinate with the Japanese government and nuclear officials and visit villages near the power plant during their nine-day visit.

Reducing radition levels and disposing of contaminated soil are some of the crucial factors for restoring the environment, Juan Carlos Lentijo, the team’s leader, told reporters in Tokyo.

The Japanese government has been stepping up efforts to allow international help amid the ongoing crisis which saw tons of highly-contaminated water spilling from the plant’s damaged reactors into the Pacific Ocean.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was also slammed for glossing over the crisis in remarks to the International Olympic Committee that the situation was “under control”.

Japanese deputy environment minister Shinji Inoue said that despite “extreme challenges,” progress was being made.

He also said the government hopes to receive helpful expert advise that will accelerate decontamination efforts.

“Decontamination has significantly increased to the point where, in certain areas, the work is completed,” Inoue said.

By Maesie Bertumen

Image: IAEA Imagebank/Flickr