U.S. and France to help Japan in nuclear crisis

France and the United States are to help Japan in its battle to contain radiation from a crippled nuclear complex where plutonium finds have raised public alarm over the world’s worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.

The high-stakes operation at the Fukushima plant has added to Japan’s unprecedented humanitarian disaster with 27,500 people dead or missing from a March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who chairs the G20 and G8 blocs of nations, plans to visit Tokyo on Thursday. He will be the first foreign leader in Japan since the disaster.

In further support, France flew in two experts from its state-owned nuclear reactor maker Areva and its CEA nuclear research body to assist Japan’s heavily-criticized plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO).

A global leader in the industry, France produces about 75 percent of its power from reactors so it has a strong interest in helping Japan get through the Fukushima disaster.

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