Fukushima nuclear disaster still remains unresolved – former Japanese PM

March 21, 2014 in News by The Manimal

Source: Voice of Russia

Over three years after the Great East Japan Earthquake and the ensuing tsunami triggered multiple reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power facility, former Japanese Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, claims that the Fukushima nuclear disaster still remains unresolved. Moreover, Kan criticizes the current Japanese government for restarting the idea of nuke energy

“It remains a fact that the accident is going on,” said Kan, who was prime minister when disaster struck the Fukushima nuclear power plant three years ago. “Despite that, the Liberal Democratic Party is trying to reboot many nuclear power plants.”

Speaking in front of an audience that included German lawmakers in Berlin, Kan said that currently, the plant is still plagued with contaminated water problems and nearly 140,000 evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture remain unable to go back to their homes.

Kan also made it clear that there has been no major disruption to Japanese society and the economy, even though a majority of Japan’s nuclear reactors have been mothballed.

Certainly, Kan’s statements are fair. But, on the one hand, Japan’s struggling economy has been hit hard by the need to import fossil fuels to replace the thermal energy production lost when Japan’s nuclear power plants were idled.

The trade deficit is so tough that Prime Minister Abe’s aggressive fiscal strategies have only pushed the economic improvement so far, as it has been pulled down by the country’s expenditures in importing fossil fuel.

Kan’s message was perceived well by the predominantly anti-nuclear audience.

Following the Fukushima disaster, Germany, for example, had decided to shut down all of its nuclear reactors by the end of 2022.

Tokyo Electric Power Co said Wednesday it had suspended a radioactive water treatment system at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant due to deteriorating performance. The operator found Tuesday that one of the three lines in the cleanup system did not eliminate radioactive material sufficiently.

Tokyo Electric halted all three lines called the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), but it did not detect any defects in the other two, said Akitsuka Kobayashi, a company spokesman.

In February, the operator started the three ALPS lines simultaneously on a trial basis, but the system has encountered a series of problems.

If all the lines operated fully, about 750 tons of toxic water could be treated every day, Kobayashi said.

New easier-to-use radiation detectors will be available for residents of Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture as of next month as radiation cleanup efforts continue in the wake of the March 2011 breakdown and subsequent meltdowns and wastewater leaks at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Unlike the detectors residents use now to check cesium levels in food, home-grown farm produce or edible wild plants, the new ones will be faster operating and won’t require cutting 500 grams of food into small pieces, prefecture officials said.

Each of the Fukushima municipalities will have at least one such detector installed at public facilities and available at no charge, for which a special budget has been set aside.

The new detectors are capable of detecting the lowest cesium levels of about 20 becquerels per kilogram.