TOKYO: Nuclear watchdog inspectors who toured Japan’s crippled Fukushima plant following the discovery of a huge radioactive leak declared yestrerday that water storage at the site was “sloppy”.
Earlier this week around 300 tonnes of radioactive liquid is believed to have escaped from one of the hundreds of tanks holding liquid used to cool the broken reactors, in an episode dubbed the most serious in nearly two years.
“I can’t help but say it was sloppy,” said Nuclear Regulation Authority committee member Toyoshi Fuketa of Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (Tepco’s) management of contaminated water, according to Jiji Press.
Fuketa was part of a 15-member team, including experts on radiation and water flow, who visited the wrecked power station to see for themselves how the polluted water had escaped.
The one-day inspection finished late Friday, an agency official said.
“We will analyse results of the inspection and discuss them at a working group next week,” the official said. “We may carry out further on-site inspections if necessary.”
On Thursday workers looking for other holed tanks found two areas near other containers where radiation was unexpectedly high, although they could see no leaks. Nuclear regulators said the leak represented a level-three “serious incident” on the UN’s seven-point International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), raising the alert from level one, an “anomaly”.
The quake and tsunami-sparked meltdowns at the plant in March 2011 were ultimately categorised as level seven on the INES scale. The Chernobyl disaster in 1986 is the only other incident to have been given the most serious ranking.
Plant owner Tepco has said puddles near the holed tank were toxic. AFP