The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was a series of equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns and releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, following a devastating earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011 which claimed nearly 19,000 lives. It is the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 and only the second disaster to measure Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.
Tepco data error fanned radioactive leak fears, says Japanese regulator
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.