U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), a senior member of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, recently donned a radiation suit and investigated firsthand the devastated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. He reveals the situation is worse than reported, and is urging the Japanese Ambassador to the United States, Ichiro Fujisaki, to accept international assistance to address ongoing risks of catastrophic radioactivity releases, especially from the hundreds of tons of high-level radioactive waste stored in precarious pools vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis. Wyden has issued a press release, and posted his letter to the Japanese Ambassador.
In the letter, Wyden wrote: “The scope of damage to the plants and to the surrounding area was far beyond what I expected and the scope of the challenges to the utility owner, the government of Japan, and to the people of the region are daunting. The precarious status of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear units and the risk presented by the enormous inventory of radioactive materials and spent fuel in the event of further earthquake threats should be of concern to all and a focus of greater international support and assistance.”
Wyden also wrote U.S. Energy Secretary Chu, Secretary of State Clinton, and NRC Chairman Jaczko, urging the full resources and expertise of the United States government be offered to Japan to prevent yet another catastrophic radioactivity release at Fukushima Daiichi due to a failed pool fire.