The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Wednesday that Japan should stop sending “confusing messages” about the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. They urge the government to explain why they suddenly decided to raise the nuclear warning level at the plant when other incidents since March 2011 have not merited such action.
In a document that the IAEA submitted to Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, they said that the authorities may want to prepare an explanation for the media and the public which explains why they raised the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) level from 1 to 3 when it was revealed that around 300 tons of contaminated water has leaked out of one of the storage tanks. This made the incident the most serious one yet since Fukushima‘s three reactors went into meltdown during the 2011 tsunami. The plant’s operator Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) is still trying to take hold of the situation at the plant as they attempt to continue with the decontamination and clean-up process.
The IAEA said the government should be more careful in using the INES evaluations, since it would “cloud” the issue in the eyes of the public. They suggest crafting a detailed communication plan that would explain the safety implications of certain events at the plant or in any other nuclear plant, instead of just using INES-rated events. NRA chair Shunichi Tanaka said that even though they approved the designation of level 3, things are still not that clear. “We may have to change it when TEPCO comes to disclose more information,” he shared. But he also said that the international media does not understand the INES scale properly, reporting the situation as “serious” just because it was raised to level 3 but then admits that the NRA has not given them vital information and that “information is rather scarce.”
[ via Channel News Asia ]