A team of UN nuclear inspectors arrived in Japan yesterday to assess the condition of a nuclear power plant severely damaged in an earthquake last month, Japanese officials said.
The July 16 magnitude-6.8 quake in Niigata Prefecture killed 11 people and injured more than 1,000. It also caused numerous malfunctions and leaks at the plant -- the world's largest in terms of capacity -- and raised concerns about safety at Japan's nuclear power stations.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team, led by Philippe Jamet, director of the Nuclear Installation Safety Division, will start examining the plant today and will return to Tokyo on Friday for talks with Japanese nuclear safety officials, according to a statement by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
The team will compile a report after the inspection.
"We'll collect information and identify the lessons learned that are the most important for the international community," Jamet told reporters at Narita International Airport near Tokyo. "We're here ... to make an independent examination."
Jamet said that he and his team would try to "look at everything" but that they would have to be selective because of time constraints.
Japanese officials, already at the plant for investigations, will cooperate with the six-member IAEA team, but the UN agency's probe will be independent, agency officials said.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co has come under fire in the wake of the powerful quake, which triggered a small fire at the plant.
The company has also revealed hundreds of other incidents and damage in the aftermath, including a radioactive water leak into the sea, though the amount of radioactivity released was minimal.
Plant officials said they had not foreseen such a powerful quake hitting the facility, and repeatedly underreported its impact afterward.
The company said the radiation from the leaks was far below levels people would naturally breathe in through the air, but the prefecture's government requested that the IAEA visit.
"The accident created anxiety among the people and the prefecture has been hit hard by harmful rumors," Niigata Governor Hirohiko Izumida said.
Nuclear experts said the plant proved solid, and blamed human error for the leaks, singling out the failure to turn off a fan that apparently emitted the radioactive particles.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
THAI CASE UPDATE: Twenty-nine close contacts of the worker have been tested with two types of tests, including 18 dorm mates, with 28 negative results so far Five imported cases of COVID-19, four from the Philippines and one from Hong Kong, were reported yesterday, bringing the total confirmed cases in Taiwan to 467, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The four returning from the Philippines were on the same flight, and the local health department has identified 15 people who had direct contact with them — including 10 passengers in the two rows in front or behind them, who have been put under 14-day home isolation, and five crew members, who will practice 14-day self-health management, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang