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TEPCO irresponsible in its assessment of core meltdowns

TEPCO’s statements on assessment of core meltdowns are irresponsible, Japan News, February 27, 2016 The Yomiuri Shimbun Is it possible that Tokyo Electric Power Co. intentionally refused to acknowledge “meltdowns” at crippled reactors of its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant?

It was found that TEPCO had been unaware of assessment guidelines on meltdowns written in in-house regulations when the nuclear accident happened in Fukushima Prefecture. It denied any “meltdown,” which would suggest a serious situation.

“We were not aware at that time that there were such guidelines,” an official of the company said.

This has to be called a lame excuse by TEPCO, the largest electric power company in Japan.

According to the company’s nuclear disaster management manual at the time, a reactor core must be considered in meltdown if 5 percent or more of its nuclear fuel is believed to be damaged.

After the nuclear accident in the prefecture, a device to monitor radiation levels in containment vessels stopped working due to a power outage. After the device was restarted on March 14, 2011, it became possible to estimate how much nuclear fuel had been damaged in the reactors. The firm estimated 30 percent of the nuclear fuel in the No. 3 reactor of the plant had been damaged. If TEPCO had followed the guidelines, the situation apparently would have been a state of “meltdown.”

However, the firm, which called the situation “core damage,” claimed at the time that there was no clear definition of a meltdown. Two months had passed before TEPCO acknowledged at a press conference that the reactors had been in meltdown.

By intentionally avoiding the expression “meltdown,” which could have created more fear, didn’t the firm fail to convey the graveness of the situation to the public?……


February 29, 2016 - Posted by | Fukushima 2016

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