Fukushima nuclear disaster

Tepco data error fanned radioactive leak fears, says Japanese regulator

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 June, 2015, 3:56pm

Japan's nuclear regulator has harshly criticised the operator of the damaged Fukushima power plant, saying it released misleading data about recent leaks of radioactive water that fanned fears excessively.

Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said Tokyo Electric Power Company's inadequate expertise caused it to misrepresent key radiation data about the leaks, and suggested Tepco needed more hands-on guidance.

"I've come to think they need to be spoon-fed," Tanaka said this week. "It is regrettable that Tepco has caused confusion and fear in the international community by spreading misleading information."

Tanaka was particularly concerned about reports in foreign media that described the recent leaks at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant as a new catastrophe.

Tepco has previously been criticised for numerous delays in releasing information and in responding to problems at the damaged plant.

Tanaka said Tepco improperly described the radioactivity of "hot spots" recently found near water storage tanks using a unit that measures potential human exposure levels instead of one that measures the level of radioactivity of the water itself.

"It's scientifically nonsense," he said, adding that Tepco often seems to release unconfirmed information to avoid being accused of covering up.