Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi has ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) President Naomi Hirose to address public concerns about the recent radioactive water leakage and power outages at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. In the meeting with Hirose, he also instructed the company to ensure that the radioactive water will not seep into the nearby Pacific Ocean.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority summoned TEPCO Executive Vice President Zengo Aizawa on the same day to discuss the leakage situation. After the meeting, NRA Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa said they are taking the incident seriously but assured the public that there is no cause for alarm at this time. He said it will take a certain period of time before the contamination reaches outside and by that time, they would have taken measures to contain the leakage.
The underground tanks are used to contain the radioactive water created by the continuous water injection to the Nos 1 and 3 reactors that suffered a meltdown during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. But even though cesium is removed before the water is moved to the tanks, there are still some radioactive substances left in the water. TEPCO confirmed that two of the tanks have been leaking the radioactive water this past week, the biggest leak since the early months after the 2011 disasters. Aside from this issue, there have also been several power outages that temporarily disabled the cooling systems last March.
In a meeting of a new special committee set up by the parliament, Kiyoshi Kurokawa, head of the now-defunct accident investigation panel, said that the Fukushima issue is “clearly yet to be settled.” In the report released by the panel last July, they called the biggest nuclear accident of recent times a “man-made disaster”. This is because TEPCO and the regulators did not have proper safety measures in place to deal with such a situation, due to their “cozy ties”.
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