An international panel of experts put together by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at the request of the Japanese government has just released its final report on the situation at Fukushima.
The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), which is operated by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), was severely affected by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck off the eastern coasts of Japan on March 11, 2011.
Since then, four nuclear reactors have reached meltdown points, which means that some of their nuclear fuel has leaked out of containment. The IAEA panel was invited to the area by authorities in order for them to compile a report of how things are progressing.
The team also investigated possible methods of going about cleaning up the entire area. By and large, the report concluded that Japanese authorities have the situation under control, and that the approaches they are using for cleaning up the entire area are within parameters.
“A lot of good work, done at all levels, is on-going in Japan in the area of environmental remediation,” says the leader of the IAEA panel, Juan Carlos Lentijo. The expert is also the General Director for Radiation Protection at the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of Spain.
“In the early phases of the Fukushima Daiichi accident, a very cautious approach was adopted by the Japanese authorities in terms of dealing with the handling of residue materials. It is considered right to do so,” the official explains.
“However, at this point in time, we see that there is room to take a more balanced approach, focusing on the real priority areas, classifying residue materials and adopting appropriate remediation measures on the basis of the results of safety assessments for each specific situation,” he adds.
The report then goes on to encourage Japan to continue on its current path towards cleaning up the area, while at the same time says that authorities should also consider new ways of augmenting their main efforts.
The panel was in Japan between October 7-15, and released its preliminary report on October 14. The document released today, November 15, is the final version of the conclusions the team arrived at.