TOKYO (Kyodo) — The Japanese government plans to increase personnel at its embassy in Ukraine, especially with nuclear experts sent to learn from steps taken after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe for Japan to consider in dealing with the Fukushima nuclear crisis, government sources said Sunday.
Expanding embassy staff is necessary as closer ties with the former Soviet republic are important amid international concerns about the safety of nuclear power and as Japanese lawmakers and government officials in growing numbers visit the country to learn lessons, the sources said.
The current staff of 30 will be increased by six, including for the first time two Japanese nuclear experts as well as three interpreters, the sources said.
The staffers are expected to boost information gathering on such matters as management of the no-go zone around the Chernobyl disaster site, removal of radioactive materials, and measures to deal with internal exposure to radiation. They will interview people affected by the Chernobyl disaster, they said.
The embassy, located in the capital Kiev about 120 kilometers south of the nuclear accident site, will also be equipped with antiradiation gear, such as dosimeters and protection outfits, for field studies.
Since the world’s worst nuclear accident a quarter of a century ago, Ukraine has accumulated “a substantial amount of knowledge and data” about decontamination, treating childhood thyroid cancer and other aspects of coping with such a catastrophe, a senior Foreign Ministry official said.
The ministry estimates the cost of the additional embassy staff at about 200 million yen, and plans to request the money in the fiscal 2012 budget, with an eye to start with what it can in the current fiscal year through March, according to the sources.
The accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was triggered by the March earthquake and tsunami and resulted in the suspected meltdowns of three nuclear reactor cores, in the worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl, where a reactor exploded during a test run.
Filed under: 8.Eathquake & Nuclear accident