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Japan to fire 3 top nuclear officials

By Kyung Lah, CNN
A machine samples radioactive materials from the air above unit one at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
A machine samples radioactive materials from the air above unit one at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The minister says he has been mulling a drastic change
  • The Fukushima Daiichi plant nuclear accident is the worst since Chernobyl
  • It has caused Japan to rethink its commitment to nuclear energy
  • Workers find a radioactive hotspot more lethal than anything previously recorded

Tokyo (CNN) -- The Japanese government said Thursday three top nuclear officials will be let go following their handling of the Fukushima Daiichi crisis, which has eroded public confidence in the country's nuclear policy.

Banri Kaieda -- minister of economy, trade and industry -- made the announcement, saying he had been mulling a drastic change within the ministry, which monitors the nuclear industry.

The officials who will be fired from their official posts are the vice minister for economy, trade and industry; the head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, and the head of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant, located about 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Tokyo, was flooded by the tsunami that followed Japan's March 11 earthquake. The result was the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, as the plant's three operating reactors melted down and spewed vast quantities of radioactive particles across the surrounding area.

Lethal radiation levels at Japan plant
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The disaster has caused Japan to rethink its commitment to nuclear energy, and Germany has since announced plans to abandon atomic power entirely by 2022.

On Tuesday, workers at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant said they discovered a radioactive hot spot far more lethal than anything previously recorded at the damaged facility.

The plant's owners immediately cordoned off the area and is investigating both the cause of the high radiation and how it will affect the recovery work.

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