Japan sets up panel to probe Fukushima crisis

Japan’s government on Tuesday approved plans to set up an independent commission to investigate the crisis at its crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Kyodo news said.

The plant was badly damaged by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the plant’s operator, confirmed earlier on Tuesday there were meltdowns of fuel rods at three reactors.

Engineering professor Yotaro Hatamura was appointed head of the commission that will investigate the cause and handling of the Fukushima crisis, which has been rated at the same level as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Works to contain radiation from the plant continue.

TEPCO says it plans to reach a “cold shutdown” of the plant by January 2012.

MOSCOW, May 24 (RIA Novosti)

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