TOKYO -- U.N. inspectors faulted Japan on Wednesday for underestimating the threat of a devastating tsunami on its crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant but praised its overall response to the crisis as exemplary.
The preliminary report by a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency also said the tsunami hazard was underestimated at several other nuclear facilities in Japan, and called for experts worldwide to learn from the disaster to avert future accidents.
The IAEA team of international experts from 12 countries, which spent a week in Japan conferring with officials and inspecting the plant, will submit its full report at a high-level IAEA conference in Vienna from June 20-24.
"Japan's response to the nuclear accident has been exemplary, particularly (as) illustrated by the dedicated, determined and expert staff working under exceptional conditions," the report said. It also praised the evacuation of those living near the plant as "impressive and well-organized."
The Fukushima Dai-ichi facility was crippled when a huge tsunami generated by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit Japan on March 11. It suffered explosions, fires and meltdowns in the days after the tsunami.
|May 6: This photo released by Tokyo Electric Power Co. shows dust inhibitor being sprayed around the circulating water pump of Unit 3 the at crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan|