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Japanese government was 'warned that nuclear plants could not withstand quake'
16th March 2011
Japanese officials faced added pressure today after it emerged that they were warned more than two years ago that the country's nuclear power plants could not withstand powerful earthquakes.
The international nuclear watchdog raised concerns that safety measures were outdated and a major tremor could cause 'serious problems', leaks cables have revealed.
It is not known what changes the Japanese government made after an official from the International Atomic Energy Agency made the comments in December 2008.
Details of the warnings came from a US Embassy diplomatic cable that was leaked to the information website Wikileaks.
The doomed plant has suffered three major explosions and one fire that have spilled radiation into the atmosphere and forced thousands of people to be evacuated.
The document states: 'He [the expert] explained that safe guides for the seismic safety have only been revised three times in the last 35 years and that the IAEA is now re-examing them.
The cables reveal how the Japanese government even opposed a court order to close down a nuclear plant that was feared unsafe in the face of an earthquake above 6.5 magnitude. The government later overturned in 2009 the court's ruling top shut down the 'unsafe' plant.
Read more: http://tinyurl.com/63jml4y