UN to inspect Japan radiation site

Japan will let UN inspectors visit its largest nuclear plant in hopes of easing international concern after an earthquake caused a radiation leak, officials said on Monday.

UN to inspect Japan radiation site
Japan will let UN inspectors visit its largest nuclear plant in hopes of easing international concern after an earthquake caused a radiation leak, officials said on Monday.

The government has told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) it can send a mission to the plant around 250 kilometres (150 miles) northwest of Tokyo.

"We are preparing to accept IAEA inspectors," said Masahiro Yagi, an official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The IAEA's objective would be "sharing information with the international community rather than pure "inspections,'" he said.

The 6.8 Richter-scale earthquake on July 16 killed 10 people, destroyed hundreds of homes and caused a fire for hours at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant.

The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), later said radiation leaked. The company said the amount was far too small to pose a health hazard but has come under criticism for initially underreporting radiation levels.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei has called for transparency and offered the assistance of the UN watchdog — best known in Japan for its inspections of arch-rival North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.

The governor of Niigata prefecture, where the plant is located, has called for the assistance of the IAEA, saying it would help prevent the spread of rumours that the radiation leak was more dangerous than thought.

AFP

Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Temmuz 2007, 10:09
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