Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japanese government was 'warned that nuclear plants could not withstand quake' - Let alone 500 quakes - 16th Mar 2011

Japanese officials faced added pressure today after it emerged that they were warned more than two years ago that the country's nuclear power plants could not withstand powerful earthquakes.

The international nuclear watchdog raised concerns that safety measures were outdated and a major tremor could cause 'serious problems', leaks cables have revealed.

It is not known what changes the Japanese government made after an official from the International Atomic Energy Agency made the comments in December 2008.

The government will face tough questions on whether they acted on a pledge to upgrade all their nuclear facilities to be able to withstand a quake as powerful as the one that struck last Friday.

Details of the warnings came from a US Embassy diplomatic cable that was leaked to the information website Wikileaks.

The government is said to have responded to the nuclear watchdog's concerns by building an emergency response centre at the Fukushima powerplant.

The doomed plant has suffered three major explosions and one fire that have spilled radiation into the atmosphere and forced thousands of people to be evacuated.

The plant was only designed to withstand 7.0 magnitude quakes but the massive disaster that struck last Friday measured 9.0 on the Richter scale.

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Note: I am not sure why no news source is mentioning this but the area did in fact start with a 7.2 magnitude earthquake on wednesday the 9th of March 2011