At the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, operated by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano received on 25 July 2011 an extensive briefing and visited key locations at the nuclear accident site.
Eyewitnesses at Fukushima
TEPCO officials and personnel that were directly engaged in the response to the nuclear accident gave Director General Amano eyewitness accounts of the accident. TEPCO experts detailed the company's efforts to implement its "Roadmap" to contain and stabilize the situation in the accident's aftermath.
Director General On-site
While in Japan, he will meet the Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and other senior-level officials to discuss the outcomes of the June 2011 Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, including the initiatives to improve global nuclear safety. In his meetings, Director General Amano will emphasize the IAEA's resolve to continue to offer support to Japan in mitigating the consequences of the Fukushima accident.
Improving Nuclear Safety
The discussions with senior Government officials also provide Director General Amano a better understanding of the Japanese Government's policy for improving nuclear safety in Japan, such as introducing "stress tests" for nuclear power plants, as well as the current and planned activities to mitigate contamination in the Fukushima area.
On 11 March 2011, a magnitude 9 earthquake struck the east coast of Japan, followed by a tsunami that overwhelmed the defences at the Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. All six reactors were already off-line or were successfully shutdown immediately following the earthquake. The damage caused by the tremor and flooding cut power at the station. Without electricity, cooling capacity was lost and reactor Units 1, 2 and three 3 heated up due to reactor decay heating that lead to severe fuel damage and eventually hydrogen explosions, as well as radioactive releases.
From 24 May until 2 June the IAEA conducted a fact-finding mission to the accident site undertaken by international experts, whose report was delivered to the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety from 20 to 24 June 2011.
The Conference called upon Director General Amano to develop an Action Plan for the IAEA Board of Governors and the General Conference to consider in September 2011. The Action Plan builds on the Ministerial Declaration adopted by the Conference and lessons learned to strengthen nuclear safety, emergency preparedness and response and radiation protection of people and the environment, as well as the relevant international legal framework.