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Ministerial conference attendees toured Fukushima I NPS

Dec. 18, 2012

IAEA Director General Amano in a media interview after the tour

TOKYO --Twenty nine participants of the Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, including delegates from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and various countries, toured the Fukushima I nuclear power station (NPS) on December 14. They first visited the anti-seismic building and then got on a bus to observe the situation around units 1 to 4. "The situation at the site has changed significantly from a year ago, but there still remain issues to be improved," said IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in responding to media questions after the tour.

When asked about their impression of the tour, participants made comments such as, "A close look at the recovery efforts made me realize that progress has been made [in reactor decommissioning] as a result of successful work" and "By trying to restrict damage to the environment, TEPCO has set a good example to the world as a utility that has caused the accident." As to the current state of Fukushima as seen on their way to the site, some said, "The rows of uninhabited houses have brought home to me the severity of the accident, and I felt we should engage in safe nuclear operations" and "I deeply sympathize with children who have left their hometowns."

While acknowledging reduced burdens due to lower radioactivity levels and better protective gear, Amano pointed out several things: "There still exist some hot spots, where improvements are necessary" and "There are more tanks of contaminated water than before." In response to a question about Japan's energy policy, he said, "Japan's policy has a worldwide impact. It should never become inward-looking."

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