Greenpeace Rejects Announcement of Fukushima Plant Stability

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tokyo- (PanOrient News) Greenpeace today rejected the announcement by the Japanese government and officials from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant operator TEPCO that the reactor has been brought under control nine months after its outbreak and reached cold shutdown. Greenpeace and experts said that Radiation is still escaping from the site and the problem is far from being solved. Some experts say that it will take at least 30 years to close the plant safely.

“By triumphantly declaring a cold shutdown, the Japanese authorities are clearly anxious to give the impression that the crisis has come to an end, which is clearly not the case," Junichi Sato, Executive Director of Greenpeace Japan said in a press release. "Instead of creating a PR smokescreen to deflect attention away from the ongoing failure to help people living with the consequences of the disaster, the government’s priority should be to ensure public safety and begin the shutdown of all nuclear reactors in Japan,” he said.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said on Friday the plant in northeastern Japan was brought to cold shutdown, "Now that we have achieved stability in the reactors, a major concern for the nation has been resolved." Noda also said that the government still faces a lot of problems, such as the work to clean up the vast tracts of land contaminated by radiation and to accomplish the return of people forced to evacuate from around the plant.
Greenpeace said “TEPCO has not achieved true cold shutdown - so neither the company nor the government should be claiming the job is almost done," adding that "radiation is still escaping from the site, and the exact status of the tonnes of molten fuel remains unknown. Tens of thousands of tonnes of highly contaminated water remain in the reactor and turbine buildings, with some leaking into the ocean again last week. The ongoing radiological threat posed by the Fukushima nuclear disaster remains enormous.”

Greenpeace also noted that "a large number of people continue to face the ongoing radiation risks of this disaster without sufficient support. Nine months after the disaster, people whose homes and communities have been contaminated by radiation are still waiting for help from their government and compensation from TEPCO. So far only 35 houses have been decontaminated out of the thousands of contaminated houses in Fukushima city, just 60 kilometers from the disaster site.

Greenpeace’s most recent radiological testing found that there are many hotspots in the city and that decontamination efforts have so far been inadequate.”

Photo: Meeting of the government's nuclear disaster response taskforce, headed by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

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