Japan says must review nuclear power policy

09:03, March 25, 2011      

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Japanese government top spokesman said yesterday that Tokyo will have to review its nuclear power policy, as the broken Fukushima power plant remains spilling dangerous radioactive particles and public jitters about nuclear safety increase by the day.

"It is certain that public confidence in nuclear power plants has greatly changed," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told The Reuters on Thursday."

"In light of that, we must first end this situation and then study from a zero base," the government spokesman said.

Japan's 55 nuclear reactors have been providing about 30 percent of the nation's electricicity. The percentage had been expected to rise to 50 percent by 2030, among the highest in the world.

The 9.0 magnitude earthquake on March 11, the tsunami it triggered and the nuclear crisis they caused have brought Japan its darkest days since World War II, The Reuter report said.

Explosions in Unit 1, 2 and 3 reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station last week made it the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl and the unfolding events there raised fears of a catastrophic nuclear rod meltdown.

Engineers from the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), have been making some progress in restoring power and regaining control, but periodic emissions of smoke and steam revive fears of a nuclear nightmare, the report said.

"It's still a bit early to make an exact time prognosis, but my guess is in a couple of weeks the reactors will be cool enough to say the crisis is over," said Peter Hosemann, a nuclear expert at the University of California, Berkeley.

Yesterday, three workers replacing a cable to help cool a reactor were injured by standing in radioactive water. Two were taken immediately to hospital with burns, nuclear safety agency officials said.

On Wednesday, Tokyo's 13 million residents were told not to give tap water to babies after contamination hit twice the safety level this week. But it dropped back to safe levels yesterday.

Singapore said Thursday it had found radioactive contaminants in four samples of vegetables from Japan.

Earlier, it and Australia joined the United States and Hong Kong in restricting food and milk imports from the zone, while Canada became the latest of many nations to tighten screening.

The estimated $300 billion damage from the quake and tsunami makes it the world's costliest natural disaster, dwarfing Japan's 1995 Kobe quake and Hurricane Katrina, which swept through New Orleans in 2005, The Reuter report said.

In Japan's north, more than a quarter of a million people are in shelters. Some elderly displaced people have died from cold and lack of medicines.
Exhausted rescuers are still sifting through the wreckage of towns and villages, retrieving bodies.

The official tolls of dead and missing are both revised up every day; police said on Thursday 9,811 people were confirmed dead and 17,541 were missing. Authorities have been burying unidentified bodies in mass graves.

People's Daily Online / Agencies
 
 
     
 
 
 
     
 
 
 
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(Editor:梁军)

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