Saturday, March 19, 2011

response delayed by concern over asset damage


Video - The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says he's heading to Japan - almost a week after the nuclear crisis began.

Bloomberg | Efforts to control Japan’s nuclear crisis were delayed by concerns over damaging valuable assets at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant and initial passivity from the Japanese government, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. was reluctant to use seawater to cool one of the six reactors at the plant and hesitated because it was concerned about harming its long-term investment in the plant, the Journal cited people involved with the response as saying.

Japan’s government waited more than a day to order seawater flooding at the plant after waves generated by the largest earthquake ever recorded in Japan knocked out power for cooling systems, allowing heat to build to dangerous levels within the reactor chamber. Tepco, as the utility is known, earlier refrained from using seawater because it would corrode metal and render the reactor useless.

“I’m aware there are many criticisms, and rightly so,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said today in response to a question about the Journal report. “We did our best during the whole process, and we aren’t at a stage where we can make any judgment on that.”