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Reconsidering. Netanyahu Photo: GPO
Reconsidering. Netanyahu Photo: GPO
 
Efforts to cool Fukushima Photo: AP
Efforts to cool Fukushima Photo: AP
 
 

Netanyahu: We'll reconsider nuclear power plans

Premier tells CNN situation in Japan made him 'less enthusiastic' about plans to build civil nuclear power plants; 'luckily, we found natural gas,' he adds

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 03.17.11, 20:06 / Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN that Israel is reconsidering its plans to build a nuclear energy facility in light of the situation in quake-stricken Japan.

 

During the interview, which will be aired overnight Friday (Israel time), the Israeli leader told Piers Morgan "it (situation in Japan) certainly caused me to reconsider the projects of building civil nuclear power plants. I have to tell you I was a lot more enthusiastic about it than I am now. In fact, you'd have to give me a very good argument to do it.

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"Fortunately, we found natural gas, so we (can) make up the difference," he told CNN.

"I don’t think we're gonna pursue civil nuclear energy in the coming years."

 

Earlier this week Israel Electric Corporation chairman Yiftach Ron-Tal said he was in favor of constructing a civilian nuclear power plant, adding that such a plant could be completed in the northern Negev within about 10 years.

 

"We shouldn't rush to conclusions following what happened in Japan," he said.

 

A senior official of the UN atomic agency said Thursday that the situation at Japan's tsunami-stricken nuclear plant is "very serious," but at the moment it does not appear to be deteriorating

 

As emergency workers frantically worked to regain control of the dangerously overheated nuclear complex, Graham Andrew told reporters that "there had been no significant worsening" over the past 24 hours at the crippled plant.

 

Andrew, a senior aide to International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano, emphasized that the situation could change quickly, either improving or escalating into a wider catastrophe.


Fukushima Dai-ichi plant (Photo: AP)

 

"It hasn't gotten worse, which is positive, But it is still possible that it could get worse," he said. "We could say it's reasonably stable at the moment compared to yesterday."

 

Andrew spoke shortly after Amano flew to Tokyo to assess efforts to fight the nuclear havoc unleashed by the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan's northeastern coast Friday.

 

It was unclear what Amano hoped to accomplish during his one-day trip; he has said he plans to stay in Tokyo and meet with government officials but he had no agenda or scheduled meetings before takeoff from Vienna international airport.

 

"We don't have a fixed schedule and don't have all the information so we will be thinking on our feet," Amano told reporters assembled in the departure hall.

 

Still, he suggested his trip was symbolically important as his home country wrestles with its worst nuclear crisis since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 66 years ago.

 

"Japan is not alone, the international community is standing by Japan," Amano declared. "We have lots of offers of assistance to Japan and I would like to convey this message to them."

 

In Japan, military helicopters dumped loads of sea water onto the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant Thursday as they tried to cool overheated uranium fuel that may be on the verge of spewing out more radiation.

 

AP contributed to the report

 

 

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