Putin criticises Japanese nuclear industry

30th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin criticised Japan's nuclear industry on Saturday, questioning the building of plants in seismic zones and its response to the Fukushima disaster.

"The Japanese have a unique situation. I don't know why - it's their choice - they build their plants in seismic zones. The whole of Japan is a seismic zone," Putin said during a meeting of physicists in Penza, south of Moscow.

The premier said he thought that the Japanese authorities should have quickly supplied the Fukushima plant with extra power in order to pump water and cool it down.

"They should have brought in new power generators from other areas of the country in time, but they did not and that's what caused problems," Putin said in a speech published on his official site.

"And you know, these are old facilities, American reactors dating back to the 1970s," he added.

Leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, badly damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, have sparked new concerns over the potential risks of nuclear power.

Putin made clear that no such thing could occur at nuclear stations in Russia, which use "modern protection systems."

"When it comes to security our system is the best in the world. I say that proudly, while assuming complete responsibility", he said.

Russia currently hosts 10 nuclear stations whose 32 reactors produced 169.4 billion kilowatts in 2010.

The country's president Dmitry Medvedev marked 25 years since the world's worst nuclear disaster on a visit to Chernobyl on April 26.

Referring to the Japanese accident, Medvedev said he had forwarded to international leaders proposals for a new global nuclear safety convention to ensure the disasters of Fukushima and Chernobyl are not repeated.

"It looks like we will have to think about preparing new international conventions," he said during the visit.

© 2011 AFP

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