Monday, April 25, 2011

Chernobyl recovery officer criticises Japan's efforts at Fukushima

Soviet efforts to contain the Chernobyl nuclear disaster a quarter of a century ago were far better than Japan's "slow-motion" response to the disaster at Fukushima, a leading member of the 1986 recovery effort said.

In a rare interview on the eve of the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl on Monday, Col-Gen Nikolai Antoshkin said he was shocked at how poorly Japan had coped with its own nuclear disaster.

"Right at the start when there was not yet a big leak of radiation they (the Japanese) wasted time.

And then they acted in slow-motion," he said.

The Soviets had evacuated 44,600 people within two and a half hours and put them up in "normal comfortable conditions" on the same day, he recalled.

"Look at advanced Japan," he said. "People are housed in stadiums and are lying about on the floors of sports halls in unhygienic conditions."

Gen Antoshkin said he thought the Japanese were simply unable to cope on their own. "It is clear that they do not have enough strength or means. They need to ask the international community for help," he said. "I think the Japanese catastrophe is already more serious than Chernobyl. The main thing is that they do not allow it to become three, four or five times more serious." (read more)