Obama administration sends shipment of robots to help regain control over stricken Fukushima nuclear plant
The Obama administration is sending a squad of robots to Japan to help efforts to regain control over the Fukushima nuclear plant, it has emerged.
“A shipment is being readied,” Peter Lyons, who oversees nuclear power in the department of energy, told a Senate committee. “The government of Japan is very, very interested in the capabilities that could be brought to bear from this country.”
The news came as the Japanese government said it was considering nationalising the operator of the crippled power plant at the centre of the worst nuclear accident in the country’s history, amid mounting criticism of its handling of the crisis.
“Our preparedness was not sufficient,” government spokesman Yukio Edano said. He said that when the current crisis was over they would examine the accident closely and thoroughly review safety standards.
The prime minister, Naoto Kan, fought off criticism of his role, insisting to MPs that a state of “maximum alert” would be maintained until the power plant had been made safe.
According to Lyons, engineers were making progress in resolving the emergency at Fukushima. “Current information suggests the plants are in a slow recovery from the accident,” he told senators in Washington.
But he and Bill Borchardt, director of operations for the US nuclear regulatory commission, would not predict when the crisis might be over. “I really can’t even hazard a guess on how long that will be,” Borchardt said.
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