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‘Criminal event’ at Fukushima calls for deeper investigation

Published time: December 27, 2011 18:40
Edited time: December 27, 2011 22:40

Japan's Self Defense Force soldiers collect fallen leaves from a gutter as they started decontamination mission in Namie, in Fukushima prefecture, west of the stricken nuclear power plant (AFP Photo / / Jiji Press)

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An inquiry into the Fukushima disaster has revealed the plant operators failed to respond properly to the situation. Christopher Busby, an expert with the European Committee on Radiation Risks thinks the investigation “has not gone far enough.”

Busby himself is not satisfied with the findings of the government inquiry saying “there are lots of questions they haven’t asked and there are lots of questions that haven’t been answered.

The most important question according to Busby is the threat to health resulting from contamination. “It is kind of assumed that everybody knows that these health effects are not going to be serious, but just like I said before, it was much more serious than anyone was suggesting at that time.

He calls the Fukushima accident a “criminal event” and hopes those guilty will be eventually brought to justice. “If they [plant operators and authorities] did concede that there was a big problem, then people could be moved out and other activities could take place which would ensure that fewer people got sick,” he says.

Had the government and International Atomic Energy Agency come clean with the extent of the contamination, people would have left,” Busby explains.

He said people who do not want to return to the area are absolutely right and should stay away because of the potential risks of exposure to radiation.

On Monday Japanese authorities released an official report into the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant, which was caused by the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami of March 11.

The inquiry revealed that Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) had gravely underestimated the risks of the tsunami and that the workers at the plant were not trained to handle such emergencies.

When the disaster struck, workers mistakenly assumed an emergency cooling system was working – an error that only worsened the situation.

The report also said that the government had delayed radiation data in the area, which led to unnecessarily exposing nearby residents to radiation.