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EU Energy Chief Warns Of Catastrophic Japan Events

Published Wednesday, 16th March 2011 11:28 pm - © 2011 Dow Jones

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BRUSSELS -(Dow Jones)- Catastrophic events in Japan cannot be excluded in the next hours because the situation at a nuclear plant there is out of control, the European Union's energy chief said Wednesday.

"The site is effectively out of control," Guenther Oettinger, commissioner for energy, told a European Parliament committee. "In the coming hours there could be further catastrophic events which could pose a threat to the lives of people on the island."

Oettinger's comments were part of his introductory remarks to the committee, and he didn't specify where his information was coming from.

A spokeswoman for Oettinger wasn't immediately available.

Oettinger also said the statements of the utility company operating the distressed plant in Japan and those of the Japanese government were starting to differ.

Oettinger has made a series of remarks on the situation using strong language to describe what has happened in Japan. Tuesday, he described the impact of the earthquake and tsunami there as an "apocalypse."

The European Commission has been citing as its main information sources Japanese government information and press reports. However a Commission spokeswoman said the EU has been receiving information from multiple sources in recent days, including the International Atomic Energy Agency and the EU's ECURIE automatic information exchange.

-By Alessandro Torello, Dow Jones Newswires; +32 2 741 14 88;

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