First International Expert Appointed By Tepco
More than 2 years after the Great Hanshin Earthquake and Tsunami devestated the Tohoku region of Japan and caused the triple meltdown of 3 reactors at the Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, Tepco has appointed an international expert as an outside advisor.
Lake Barrett led the clean up effort after the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident. He will now work as an advisor to Tepco in the clean up and decommissioning process. Mr. Barrett is not without controversy. He recently wrote an article for atomic scientists, where he expressed the opinion that water stored at the site should be released into the ocean after it has been filtered to bring the radiation down to safe levels. He is of ghe opinion that the current tanks cannot permanently store the water and building more permanent structures would just be a waste of resources and counterproductive.
In other words, Tepco’s only effort at seeking international help is to find someone who endorses what they already wish to do. I am not impressed. My idea of an international assistance would be an international panel of experts who would review the situation and make recommendations. It seems to me like Mr. Barrett’s appointment is just another in a series of moves to try and manipulate opinion without offering anything new.
The Pacific Ocean belongs to all of mankind. One Japanese fisherman opposed to the dumping put it like this, “They tell us the dumping is safe, but they also told us nuclear power is safe.” Dumping into the Pacific may be the most convenient and economical way to dispose of the thousands of tons of contaminated water being stored at the site, but that does not mean it is the wise one. The decision should not be left up to the Japanese alone, the international community should oppose the further dumping of any radioactive products into the Pacific and come up with a safer alternative. Mr. Barrett is just one man and does not represent the rest of the world regardless of his expertise or credentials.