Japan n-regulator blasts Fukushima operator

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Fri, Oct 04, 2013 12:40 hrs

Tokyo, Oct 4 (IANS) Japan's nuclear regulator Friday blasted the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant for repeatedly failing to contain massive amounts of contaminated water from leaking into the nearby Pacific Ocean.

The Secretariat of Japan's Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA), Katsuhiko Ikeda, summoned Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) chief Naomi Hirose to attend a meeting with NRA officials in which Hirose was lambasted following the revelation of yet more leaks from the crippled Fukushima plant, Xinhua reported.

Ikeda told Hirose that the embattled utility is failing to manage the situation at the leaking plant effectively and that more measures needed to be taken.

"You're not managing the situation at the nuclear power plant properly. I'm worried this kind of leakage will occur again," Ikeda said, adding that TEPCO should better take charge of its on site management protocols and utilise personnel from other nuclear facilities if necessary.

Ikeda insisted that the utility formulate an immediate strategy to deal with the latest crisis and slammed TEPCO's management for its extremely poor organisational and practical systems that have led to human error causing irreversible radioactive damage to the environment.

Hirose apologised for the series of blunders the utility has made and conceded that the latest leak had led to radioactive materials spreading into and affecting the surrounding environment.

"I'm terribly sorry for the mistakes we have made. We mishandled the leaking waste-water and that is affecting the environment," the TEPCO chief said Friday, following revelations that some workers at the Fukushima Daiichi site had yet to learn the new methods for dealing with containing contaminated waste-water that had recently been implemented by the utility.

Highly-radioactive water was found Thursday to be overflowing from the top of a storage tank that had been built on a slant alongside five other tanks in the plant that was severely damaged in the 2011 earthquake-triggered tsunami.

Workers at the plant, TEPCO admitted, had miscalculated and overfilled one of the tanks to beyond its capacity, failing to acknowledge that the angle the tank had been built on had to be taken into consideration.

Only one of the tanks in the series of five connected by pipes, had a gauge attached to it to provide essential information to workers on the tank's angle and capacity, the embattled utility admitted.

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