In one of the regular meetings of the Nuclear Regulation Authority last month, Chairman Shunichi Tanaka charged TEPCO of having “no sense of crisis at all.” As if the Fukushima nuclear plant operators never run out of criticisms hurled at them, the NRA chief made another one on Wednesday. During the regular NRA meeting, Tanaka described TEPCO’s handling of the water leak situation as slow, illogical and lacking risk management.
Also in July, former head of US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Dale Klein was not shy to tell TEPCO, “You don’t know what you’re doing.” He was also referring to the management on water leaking from the Fukushima facility. It seems that TEPCO never fails to surprise the Japanese authorities, the public, as well as the international community for its actions, or rather lack of it. Even Tanaka admitted being “baffled.”
TEPCO admitted last week that a 300-ton contaminated water leak from one of its storage tanks. However, it is believed to have even started for about six weeks before the discovery. The NRA could only reiterate that TEPCO had been defying its instructions with regard to patrolling and inspection procedures. “Their instructions, written or verbal, have never been observed,” said NRA Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa.
To prove what the former head of US NRC and Japan’s NRA chairman charged of TEPCO, the Fukushima operators said they only had two workers patrolling recently. As if the recent events have not been serious enough, TEPCO went on to acknowledge that the two were in charge of the facility’s 1,000 storage tanks. Both were to execute their tasks twice a day on a two-hour inspection without dosimeters. Their rounds of inspections were not even recorded. TEPCO said they will increase their staff on patrol from eight to fifty. Tanaka said, to keep things in good perspective despite the mishaps faced at the Fukushima clean-up, “It may take time to stabilize the plant but we must put it on a right track.”