News / Asia

Broadcaster Says IAEA Will Seek Transparency on Fukushima Accident

Japan's national broadcaster says a draft statement from the U.N. nuclear agency calls on Japan to provide a "more transparent" report on the crisis at its Fukushima nuclear plant.

NHK Television said Thursday the statement was prepared for a meeting of International Atomic Energy Agency to be held in Geneva on June 20. A team of IAEA experts recently visited Japan to study the nuclear accident and is expected to report its findings at the same meeting.

The network said the draft report calls on Japan to accurately report on the nuclear crisis and share its assessment so that the world can learn from the accident.

The Japanese government and the plant's operators have been heavily criticized in Japan for being slow to acknowledge the seriousness of the accident, caused when a March 11 tsunami knocked out cooling systems at the plant.

Only in recent days has the Tokyo Electric Power Company admitted that nuclear fuel in three reactors at the plant appears to have melted down and burned through the bottom of their primary pressure chambers.

In a new revelation Thursday, the government said minute amounts of strontium-90 have been detected in 11 soil samples taken from as far as 62 kilometers from the Fukushima plant. Japan's nuclear safety commission said the concentrations were not high enough to pose a health threat.

However strontium-90 is one of the most dangerous by-products of a nuclear accident. When ingested, it tends to concentrate in bones and bone marrow, where it can cause cancer and leukemia.

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