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Distrust grows among N-crisis players : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

Prime Minister Naoto Kan's visit to the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant a day after the March 11 earthquake is being criticized for allegedly delaying efforts to control the nuclear crisis.

The prime minister had expressed a strong wish to see the accident site, and a Ground Self-Defense Force helicopter carrying Kan left the Prime Minister's Office in Tokyo's Nagatacho district early on the morning of March 12.

Kan's visit to the plant lasted for 50 minutes.

At that time, pressure inside the containment vessel at the No. 1 reactor was very high. Three hours before Kan's departure, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda instructed plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. to open a valve and release high-pressure steam into the air.

However, the utility did not implement this measure until one hour after the prime minister finished his visit.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the prime minister's visit had nothing to do with the delay. According to a ranking official of the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, however, many believe TEPCO intentionally waited so that Kan would not be at risk from the radioactive materials that would be released from the containment vessel with the steam.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Apr 2nd, 2011 at 01:15:43 PM EST

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