” Presenter: Sen Lam
Speaker: Richard Tanter, senior research associate at the Nautilus Institute and Professor of International Relations at the University of Melbourne
TANTER: Well I think it’s extremely important in material terms, the revelations about the new hotspots, about the leaks into the ocean, the continuous groundwater coming into the basement of the turbine rooms, and as your correspondent said, the extraordinary problems of the storage of more than 300-thousand tons. This is not a new problem, it’s really been there since the beginning, and the question now is how important is this politically? And that’s why Prime Minister Abe has moved today to begin to setup a new government process beyond TEPCO.
LAM: Indeed as you say the government says it’s not just up to TEPCO and now it will have to come up with a solution. Quite how well equipped is the Japanese government to do that, will they need help from overseas experts for instance?
TANTER: Well they certainly will need help from overseas, but one of the core problems with as your correspondent mentioned, the government is considering setting up a government agency for decommissioning Fukushima and perhaps other plants in future. The core point there however is there really has been no effective decommissioning of a commercial nuclear power plant anywhere in the world, even in the best of times this is a 20-30 year process. So Japan is embarking on this under the worst possible circumstances. And of course all but one of the nuclear power plants, there’s 55 in Japan, is closed down, and the last one closes down in I think a week and a half from now. And that will again raise the issue of what other plants really have to be decommissioned rather than starting up again. … ”