Oettinger Says Japan Assessment Based on Government Data, Media

EU Energy Comissioner Guenther Oettinger
Guenther Oettinger, the European energy commissioner. Photographer: Jock Fistick/Bloomberg

European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said his assessment that Japan’s crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant risks provoking a “major disaster” is based on information from the European Union, the EU mission in Tokyo, the International Atomic Energy Agency and media reports.

“The site is effectively out of control,” Oettinger told a European Parliament committee today in Brussels. “In the coming hours, there could be further catastrophic events.”

Oettinger, who represents the European Commission, the 27 nation EU’s executive arm, said a further deterioration in the situation could lead to the deaths of people in Japan. “We are somewhere between a disaster and a major disaster,” he said. “We are very much concerned and deeply distressed by the pictures we are seeing from Japan.”

That assessment is based on information from the Brussels-based commission, the Tokyo-based EU mission to Japan and the IAEA in Vienna, as well as media reports, Oettinger said after his appearance in the parliament. “All these experts who read with better glasses than mine,” Oettinger said.

Oettinger’s spokeswoman, Marlene Holzner, told reporters in a briefing earlier today in Brussels that the information the commission has about the situation in Japan “is partly from the media, partly from the government.”

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