26 Août 2013
August 24, 2013
CHERNOBYL, Ukraine (Kyodo) -- Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida visited Chernobyl, site of the 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine, on Sunday to observe the nuclear power plant and areas surrounding it.
Kishida is expected to apply the lessons of the postdisaster work being conducted there to Japan's ongoing efforts to deal with the aftermath of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, triggered by the massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
"I directly saw that the battle to contain the accident still continues 27 years after the disaster. Ukraine's experience and knowledge serve as a useful reference for workers coping with the Fukushima nuclear crisis," Kishida told reporters accompanying him.
Japan and Ukraine signed an agreement in April last year to cooperate in dealing with nuclear disasters.
The foreign minister viewed the No. 4 reactor at the Chernobyl plant, which exploded in April 1986 and is now enclosed in a concrete sarcophagus, from a distant point guided by the head of the plant.
He also visited a deserted town near the plant from which around 50,000 people evacuated following the disaster.
Kishida heard from the plant chief and other Ukrainian officials about the country's decontamination efforts and measures to ensure nuclear safety.
He is scheduled to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kozhara in Kiev on Monday. He is due to return to Japan on Tuesday.
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CHERNOBYL, UKRAINE – Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday paid a visit to Chernobyl, site of the 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine, to tour the wrecked nuclear power plant and areas around it. ….
Japan's Foreign Minister visits Chernobyl
Japan's Foreign Minister has visited the site of 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident in Ukraine.
Fumio Kishida said he wants to increase cooperation with Ukraine in the reconstruction of areas affected by Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident two years ago.
Kishida was shown the concrete and metal sarcophagus that covers the No. 4 reactor.
Ukrainian officials and engineers explained to Kishida how difficult it was to contain radioactive substances immediately after the accident. They said highly radioactive materials are still inside.
Kishida inspected the construction of a dome-like structure that will cover the sarcophagus.
He also visited a deserted town where nuclear plant workers once lived.
Kishida told reporters that he realized the fight to contain the Chernobyl accident continues and that Japan is learning much from what Ukrainians experienced after the accident.
In April 1986, an explosion at the No. 4 reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant became the worst nuclear accident in history.
Soon after the accident, workers built a metal and concrete cover called a sarcophagus to stop radioactive materials from spreading.
In April last year, the Ukrainian government began constructing a new structure to envelop the aging sarcophagus.
The arch is more than 250 meters wide and 105 meters tall. Workers are assembling it about 300 meters from the sarcophagus. Once completed in 2015, the structure will be moved into position on rails.
The cost is estimated at more than a billion dollars. Ukraine is getting support from Japan, the United States and other countries.
Engineers plan to disassemble the reactor in a project that's expected to take 50 years.
27 years have passed since the accident, but radiation levels are still high around the plant. A no-entry zone extends 30 kilometers from the site.
More than 160,000 people were forced to move out of contaminated areas. They live on subsidies from the government.
About 30 firefighters and plant workers died soon after the accident due to acute radiation exposure.
A UN survey suggests many children in the area have developed thyroid cancer. Others have developed heart and circulatory diseases. Some complain of physical disorders, including headaches and dizziness.
The Ukrainian government provides free health checks and other support to about 2 million people.