‘Japan may become another Chernobyl’

Press TV – March 18, 2011

Japan has raised the alert level at its quake-damaged nuclear plant from four to five with speculation of a nuclear catastrophe looming large in the country.

 Experts believe Japan may witness the worst nuclear accident in history, if workers in the Fukushima nuclear power plant fail to prevent another meltdown and bring the situation under control, a Press TV correspondent reported on Friday.

Engineers are working around-the-clock to ward off a new crisis in the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant and prevent a deadly radiation that could potentially overshadow the Chernobyl disaster.

A nuclear expert from New York, Kevin Sanders told Press TV that the history of nuclear disasters around the world shows that whenever something goes wrong several procedures are taken by the governments to calm the situation down.

Sander noted that for example, they first avoid reporting it in the first place if they can. Sometimes they delay for days to announce what went wrong.

“Even when there are serious threats there are political concerns to avoid reporting it. The truth is particularly an ugly one. The International Atomic Energy Agency has called on the Japanese government to be more open with regard to reporting the Fukushima crisis,” he added.

The reports by Japanese officials are either inaccurate or they are covering up the true situation, he said.

There are skepticisms because in the early stages of the crisis there were some efforts to play down what was really happening, Press TV’s correspondent reported.

The company in charge of the nuclear plant has been particularly playing down to avoid telling the truth about the situation.

“There have been a lot of efforts to control the situation, but so far those efforts do not seem to have done very well. There are efforts from the international community helping to calm down the crisis. For example a team of Mongolian experts are on the ground helping with the situation,” our correprpondent added.

The US has also warned of extremely high radiation levels at the plant’s number four reactor.

Washington says the cooling process could take weeks and asked people living within 80 km (50 miles) of the Daiichi plant to evacuate or remain indoors “as a precaution.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency has warned that the situation of Japan’s Fukushima plant remains very serious.

Meanwhile, by latest independent estimates, at least 17,000 people have lost their lives since last week’s 8.9-magnitute earthquake and the tsunami that followed.

HSH/HGH/MMN

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