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article imageWikileaks reveals 2008 Japan nuclear warning

By Joseph E Lovell     Mar 16, 2011 in Environment
Cables obtained by Wikileaks show warning to Japan of danger posed by powerful quakes, official negligence, and accusations of nuclear accident cover-ups.
One cable, sent to the US during the 2008 G8 Nuclear and Security Group meeting, was obtained by Wikileaks and seen by London's The Telegraph.
The document records an unnamed official from the International Atomic Energy Agency nuclear watchdog "explained that safety guides for seismic safety have only been revised three times in the last 35 years and that the IAEA is now re-examining them. Also, the presenter noted recent earthquakes in some cases have exceeded the design basis for some nuclear plants, and that this is a serious problem that is now driving seismic safety work."
The Japanese power plants in question were designed to withstand tremors up to 7.0 on the richter scale. Friday's earthquake, which caused widespread destruction and a potentially catastrophic nuclear disaster, registered 9.0 on the scale.
Another cable from 2006 shows a court order to close down another plant that was only designed to withstand 6.5 magnitude quakes. The court had ruled that the local population could be in danger of exposure to radiation in the event of a natural disaster. Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency rejected the claims and successfully overruled the order in 2009.
A third cable communicates the accusations of Taro Kono, a member of Japan's lower house, that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, had covered up nuclear accidents and downplayed risks.
More about japan earthquake, Wikileaks, Iaea
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