Japan to defer plans to build new N-plants: PM

Last Updated: Monday, April 18, 2011 - 23:09

Tokyo/Fukushima: Japan will freeze plans
to build new atomic facilities and carry out a thorough review
of its nuclear energy policy, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said
today, as robots engaged at the crippled Fukushima plant
measured the new radiation level as "tough" for workers.

"We will not proceed with the plans that have been put
forward until now" before the government completes a full
examination of the accident and makes sure that nuclear plants
in the country are safe, Kan told parliament, Kyodo reported.

He pledged a thorough review of the nuclear energy
policy in the wake of crisis.

Before the crisis at the Fukushima plant, triggered by
the March 11 devastating earthquake and tsunami, the
government had set a target of adding 14 or more nuclear power
plants by 2030 as part of its efforts to fight global warming.

The twin disasters and the two aftershocks has left
nearly 28,000 dead or missing.

Speaking in a Diet committee meeting today, Kan said a
comprehensive examination is needed to determine why an
accident like the one at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power
plant could have happened.

Kan said he had previously been in favour of nuclear
power generation, believing that multi layered safety measures
were in place at power plants. But he said all such
preconceived, conventional views should be put aside for a
review of the nation`s nuclear administration.

Radiation levels inside the quake-hit Nos.1 and 3
reactor buildings at the plant was up to about 57
millisieverts per hour, data obtained by remote-controlled
robots said.

A spokesman for the government`s nuclear regulatory
body said the radiation level made it "tough" for workers to
engage in restoring the reactors` key cooling functions for
prolonged periods, and that it was seeking ways to mitigate
exposures, Kyodo said.

Tokyo Electric Power Company used US-made
remote-controlled robots at the two reactors to measure
radiation levels, temperatures and oxygen densities.

It announced that radiation readings were 10 to 49
millisieverts per hour in the No.1 building, and 28 to 57
millisieverts per hour in the No. 3 building.

The earthquake and tsunami had knocked out the
Fukushima plant`s emergency power supply equipment, which was
needed to cool its reactors and spent fuel storage pools.
Based on the collected data, the company will study
what kind of work can be done inside the reactor buildings.

Meanwhile, the level of contaminated water in the
tunnel of the No. 2 reactor continues to rise, state
broadcaster NHK said.

PTI



First Published: Monday, April 18, 2011 - 23:09

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