Tepco Misleading Public Over Nuclear Crisis


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Tokyo Electric Power Co. has made misleading statements about when it will stabilize its nuclear reactors crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, said Tetsuo Ito, head of the Atomic Energy Research Institute at Kinki University in western Japan.

The company, known as Tepco, yesterday reiterated the schedule on its so-called road map announced a month ago to achieve cold shutdown of the three radiation-leaking reactors as early as October. Setting a timetable without knowing the condition of the reactor cores doesn’t make sense, Ito said in a phone interview from Osaka.

“Only after understanding what’s going on inside the buildings and reactors, will it be clear what parts of the timetable are achievable,” Ito said. “Devising a road map without that will give the public a false sense of security.”

On May 15, or more than two months after the disaster at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, Tepco said conditions were worse than expected in reactor No. 1 when it found all uranium fuel rods had melted. Today it sent four workers into reactor No. 2 for the first time since March 14 to measure radiation levels and assess whether work can be done to fix gauges that will show the condition of the core.

“It’s highly likely No. 2 and No. 3 reactors are worse than thought,” Ito said. “Tepco devised the first (road map) before fully grasping the situation inside the reactor buildings; a scientist wouldn’t do such a thing.”

Ito has headed the institute, which started running Japan’s first university-based nuclear reactor in 1961, for more than five years. He has spent 35 years in nuclear engineering research.
Tepco Misleading Public Over Nuclear Crisis - Bloomberg

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