IAEA head wants to visit Japan's nuclear plant

VIENNA Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:59am EDT

Related Topics

VIENNA (Reuters) - The head of the U.N. atomic watchdog would like to visit the site of a devastated nuclear plant in Japan, he said on Thursday as he departed for Tokyo to glean details about the escalating crisis.

Japanese military helicopters and fire trucks doused the overheating Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant with water on Thursday but have been hindered due to high radiation levels.

"The situation continues to be very serious," International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano told reporters at Vienna airport as he left with a small group of nuclear experts.

"We wish to go to the site, but we will discuss it upon our arrival.

"This is a very serious accident but Japan is not alone, the international community is standing by Japan," he said.

Amano said he would ask Japanese authorities to improve communications with the Vienna-based IAEA, which has been struggling to keep up with fast-developing events because of a lack of timely and detailed data from Japan.

(Reporting by Michael Shields, Writing by Sylvia Westall; editing by Robert Woodward)

FILED UNDER: