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IAEA wants faster information from Japan

Posted by on March 16, 2011 0 Comment

Vienna, March 16 (DPA) The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) added his voice Tuesday to mounting concerns about the situation at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant, saying local officials should provide his organization with better and faster information.

“We need more information, more details,” IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in Vienna.

The nuclear agency provided a telling example of the extreme information time lag late Tuesday. It belatedly announced that operators at Fukushima had considered to partially dismantle reactor buildings 5 and 6, to prevent a buildup of hydrogen that caused explosions in three other reactors.

The IAEA’s statement referred to the state of events at Fukushima more than 17 hours ago, and an agency spokesman was unable to say whether the dismantling had begun.

Japanese IAEA chief Amano told reporters he was worried about recent news from Fukushima because the so-called suppression chamber, which helps lower pressure at the plant’s second reactor, might be damaged.

The chamber is part of the primary containment vessel that is supposed to prevent radiation from reaching the environment.

Amano was also concerned about a possibility that some five percent of the reactor’s radioactive core has been damaged, and about the release of radioactivity when a spent fuel pond was on fire for some time.

The nuclear watchdog had earlier said any damage to the containment vessel would have been caused by the hydrogen gas explosion that occurred Monday.

The agency is planning to send a team of two experts to Japan to monitor the environmental situation, and one official to coordinate with the Japanese government.

Discussions on details of the mission were still ongoing Tuesday and the departure date was unclear.

“The sooner, the better, in my view,” Amano said.

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