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UN nuclear agency to carry out fact-finding mission in Japan

The IAEA is sending a 20-person team of international nuclear experts to Japan to identify if there are any more places that require “exploration or assessment”.

15 May 2011: The governor of Fukushima and others wearing radiation protection suits offer prayers for the victims of the 11 March disasters.
15 May 2011: The governor of Fukushima and others wearing radiation protection suits offer prayers for the victims of the 11 March disasters.
Image: Kyodo/AP/Press Association Images

THE UN’S NUCLEAR watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said today it is sending a team of international experts to Japanese nuclear power stations for a “fact-finding mission”.

In its statement, the IAEA said that the group of 20 would be visiting the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant and “other locations” from 24 May to 2 June to identify areas that need “further exploration or assessment based on the IAEA safety standards”.

The agency also said that the visiting experts would hear about the Japanese lessons learned from the nuclear crisis.

The Fukushima power plant was severely damaged in the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. Kyodo News reports today that the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Co (which operates the Fukushima plant) are expected to release a new timetable today charting when the nuclear crisis will be brought to an end.

Last week, power plant officials admitted that one of the crippled plant’s six reactors had suffered a meltdown.

Thousands of people evacuated from the area around the power station are still living in emergency shelters and it is not known when, or if, they will all be allowed to return home.

The IAEA mission’s findings will be presented at a conference on nuclear safety in Vienna next month.

Read: Japan scraps plans to build any further nuclear plants >

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