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Friday, April 1, 2011

Curtain falls for Fukushima nuke plant, Emperor visits calamity victims

The Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced on Wednesday that it will decommission Reactors Nos. 1-4 of one of its damaged plants, the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, and will never be used again.
TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata made the announcement on behalf of the hospitalized company President Masataka Shimizu, and said, "I deeply apologize for causing a great deal of worry to so many people," the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.
Radioactive materials had been released from the paralyzed plant, which were detected in high concentration in nearby areas and in trace amounts in various countries.
However, the BBC reported that residents will be consulted whether Reactors No. 5 and 6 will be operated again.
Katsumata said TEPCO will set up an office that will provide aid to victims of the ongoing nuclear crisis.
"The government is helping us prepare the compensation sincerely under a nuclear accident compensation program," TEPCO chairman said when asked about remuneration to farmers and businesses caused by the faulty plant.
Reassuring the public that the energy company is augmenting its power output, he said, "We'll do everything we can to avoid blackouts."
In the mean time, TEPCO president Shimizu was admitted to a hospital on Tuesday evening when he suffered from dizzy spells and hypertension, said the Yomiuri Shimbun.
The 66-year-old energy company chief will go back to his duties "as soon as his health recovers," TEPCO officials said.
The 71-year-old Katsumata took over his responsibilities when Shimizu did not report to work from 16 to 22 March due to his illness.
Meanwhile, Emperor Akihito visited on Wednesday a Tokyo shelter for the victims of the twin calamities that had so far killed over 11,000 people since it struck on 11 March.
One of the victims said, "The emperor's visit ‘gives me strength.’"
The well-respected ministerial head made a historic televised public appearance on 16 March when he expressed his deep concern over the damages brought about by the quake, tsunami and the nuclear plant.
Watch the attached video.
Details of this report here.

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