Tokyo Electric Power Co. did not fully disclose radiation monitoring data after its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the government revealed Friday.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, after being informed by Goshi Hosono, a special adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan, told reporters that he instructed Tepco to sort out the data, make it public and make doubly sure no more information-withholding occurs.
Coming a day after he blasted Tepco’s flip-flop over the injection of seawater into the plant’s reactor 1, Edano said the government “cannot respond to this matter on the premise” that no more undisclosed information will emerge.
“There is a distinct possibility that there is still more,” he said, urging Tepco to accurately and swiftly report the truth to the government.
Hosono also noted Tepco’s delay in revealing this fact, 2? months after the nuclear crisis started.
The government will look into how this happened, the two officials said.
NRC quickly aware
A senior nuclear regulatory official in the United States said Thursday he believed there was a “strong likelihood” of serious core damage and core melt at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant in the days immediately after the crisis began.
“There were numerous indications of high radiation levels that can only come from damaged fuel at those kinds of levels,” said Bill Borchardt, executive director for operations at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “So we felt pretty confident that there was significant fuel damage at the site a few days into the event.”
The NRC also had “suspicions” about the conditions of the spent fuel pools, Borchardt said after a speech at the Japan Society in New York.
Based on that assumption, he said, the NRC recommended that U.S. residents in Japan stay 80 km away from the crippled power plant, which was far beyond the Japanese government’s recommendation for residents within a 20-km radius to evacuate.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Tuesday — more than two months after the disaster began — that there is a good chance the cores of reactors 2 and 3 probably melted down just like the reactor 1 core, which melted just 15 hours after the quake hit.
In his speech, Borchardt said that since the magnitude 9.0 quake and tsunami hit the Tohoku region on March 11, his agency has carried out a review of the 104 operating nuclear plants across the United States and confirmed their safety.
“The initial findings of the short-term task force is that we have not identified any issues that undermine our confidence in the continued safety of the U.S. plants or in the emergency planning for those facilities, although it is entirely expected that they will recommend some actions for evaluation that would enhance either safety and/or preparedness activities,” he said.