Monday, May 2, 2011

Japan plans new tsunami wall at nuclear plant

This video image, taken by a remote controled drone T-Hawk on April 21, 2011 shows the north side area of the first reactor building of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. -- PHOTO: AFP / HO / TEPCO

TOKYO - THE operator of Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant will build a wall to defend it against future tsunamis, reports said on Monday, as public confidence slipped in the government's handling of the disaster.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) also plans to triple from about 1,000 to 3,000 the number of staff nuclear workers and subcontractors handling the crisis to reduce each individual's radiation exposure.

Emergency crew have been battling for eight weeks to stabilise the six-reactor plant which was damaged by the March 11 quake and tsunami, and which has since been hit by explosions, leaking radiation.

Confidence has slipped among voters in the handling of the wider disaster by the centre-left government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan, according to a nationwide telephone poll by the mass-circulation Asahi Shimbun daily. The survey showed 55 per cent of respondents expressed reservations about how the government was dealing with the crisis, while 27 per cent were hopeful about the efforts, according to the poll of more than 3,000 people on April 23-24.

In order to guard the plant against future quakes and tsunamis, Tepco plans to build a wall about two metres high and 500m long, made of rocks contained by wire mesh, said reports citing Tepco officials.

The wall would be built at a height of about 10m above sea level and be designed to resist a wave generated by an 8-magnitude quake - smaller than the monster wave triggered by the 9-magnitude quake in March. -- AFP

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