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Japan seeks to quell Olympic worries by scrapping Fukushima reactors

September 19, 2013|By David Wharton
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the scrapping of two more reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant on Thursday.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the scrapping of two more reactors… (Sankei Shimbun / EPA )

Less than two weeks after he promised the 2020 Tokyo Olympics would be safe from radioactive contamination, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the scrapping of two more reactors at the tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant.

Abe made the announcement after touring the crippled facility on Thursday.

"I will work hard to counter rumors questioning the safety of the Fukushima plant," he said, according to Reuters.

Four of the plant's reactors suffered meltdowns and other damage after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, leading to widespread contamination in the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. Abe wants the remaining two reactors scrapped so the Tokyo Electric Power Co. can focus on continued leaking of contaminated groundwater.

Earlier this month, Abe told the International Olympic Committee that Tokyo could stage a safe Games. IOC members subsequently chose the capital city as the 2020 host over Istanbul, Turkey, and Madrid.

On Thursday, Abe said: "One of the main purposes of this visit was to see it for myself, after I made those remarks, on how the contaminated water has been handled."

Fukushima is located about 140 miles from Tokyo. The prime minister asked TEPCO to provide a time frame for addressing continued leaks.

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