Japanese Nuclear Plant Meltdown 'Explodes Safety Myth'

An explosion at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant and radioactive leakage on Friday as a result of a deadly earthquake and tsunami are likely to hamper Japan's plan to export nuclear power plants. Japan prides itself on the affordability and safety of its nuclear power plants.

The industry, which is led by Toshiba, Hitachi and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has been touted as a world leader. Last December, Japan beat Korea to an order from Turkey because it stressed that its nuclear power plants have been accident-free despite sitting on an earthquake fault line. Turkey too is subject to frequent earthquakes. In October last year, Japan also won an order from Vietnam and it started negotiating terms with Brazil last month.

But on Sunday the Mainichi Shimbun said the "safety myth" has collapsed with the explosion in Fukushima. Kyodo News said, "Although it was an earthquake on an unprecedented scale, the core meltdown has tarnished the reputation Japan's nuclear power plants have for safety." The Nihon Keizai Shimbun said the nuclear plants need "double or triple safety measures" to stop radioactive leaks, but the Fukushima Daiichi plant did not have them.

englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 14, 2011 12:23 KST