The government will promise to provide more information on the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in a report to the International Atomic Energy Agency to be submitted by the end of the month.
The administration of Naoto Kan, which left office at the start of this month, faced criticism from many countries for failing to disclose information about the disaster, including hydrogen explosions at reactor buildings and leaks of radioactive water into the sea.
Critics say a lack of trust in the Japanese government’s openness about the disaster led to a sharp fall in foreign tourists and restrictions on Japanese food imports in some countries.
An approximately 500-page report, to be submitted to the IAEA’s board of governors and the IAEA general conference in Vienna from mid- to late September, will try to address that distrust.
The current draft says: “We recognize that it is our responsibility to provide accurate information about the accident, including lessons from the accident, to the international community.”
It continues: “We paid attention to recording facts accurately and evaluating the response to the accident as objectively as possible.”
The Noda administration is expected to approve the report at a meeting of the headquarters for nuclear disaster measures on Sept. 11, exactly six months after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
It is a sequel to a report submitted by the Kan Cabinet to the IAEA’s ministerial meeting in June.
After taking office as prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda said Sept. 2 that dealing with the nuclear accident and the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake would be his government’s top policy priorities, and stressed the importance of regaining the trust of the international community.
The original report in June listed 28 lessons to prevent a recurrence of the Fukushima accident. The new draft discusses concrete measures.
To secure emergency electricity sources in accidents, power supply vehicles have been deployed and measures have been taken to prevent power lines from falling down, according to the report. It says the government also plans to install larger-capacity storage batteries at nuclear power plants.
The government says it will review the roles and responsibilities of the headquarters for nuclear disaster measures and other agencies because of problems caused by a lack of clarity in the division of roles between the government and electric power companies.
Laws, regulations and guidance for dealing with this issue will also be rewritten, the report says.
All electric utilities and nuclear power plants will be linked to the government using teleconferencing systems so that information can be gathered and instructions issued promptly.
In the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, environmental monitoring equipment and facilities operated by local governments were damaged. The report refers to a government plan to set up a new nuclear safety agency under the Environment Ministry in April to reinforce safety regulations, and says that agency will be responsible for a new emergency environmental monitoring system.
The draft report also lists key goals in the effort to cut radiation levels at the Fukushima plant. Among the goals for the second phase of that plan, due to be completed by January, are improving the water-circulating cooling systems designed to bring the temperature of the reactors below 100 degrees (cold shutdown), and installing covers over the reactor buildings to contain the spread of radioactive material.
The draft report also says the government will compile a mid- to long-term road map by the end of the year for removing damaged fuel from the reactors and that a pool for storing removed spent fuel will be set up within three years.
The government panel to investigate the nuclear accident, formed during the Kan administration, is scheduled to compile an interim report by the end of the year and produce a final report by summer 2012. The Noda Cabinet is expected to put together a new report based on that panel’s findings.