TEPCO ordered to stop issuing “too high” radiation numbers.
Japan utility ordered to review radiation figures
Apr. 1, 2011
OKYO (AP) — Japan’s nuclear safety agency ordered a review Friday of the latest radiation measurements taken in air, seawater and groundwater samples around a leaking, tsunami-disabled nuclear plant, saying they seemed suspiciously high.
The utility that runs the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant has repeatedly been forced to retract such figures, fueling fears over health risks and a lack of confidence in the company’s ability to respond effectively to the crisis. The Tokyo Electric Power Co. has not been able stabilize the plant’s dangerously overheating reactors since cooling systems were knocked out in the March 11 tsunami.
Among the measurements called into question was one from Thursday that TEPCO said showed groundwater under one of the reactors contained iodine concentrations that were 10,000 times the government’s standard for the plant, the safety agency’s spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama said. Seawater and air concentrations from Wednesday also are under review.
“We have suspected their isotope analysis, and we will wait for the new results,” Nishiyama said, adding that the agency thinks the numbers may be too high.
TEPCO has conceded that there appears to be an error in the computer program used to analyze the data and that recent figures may be inaccurate. They have indicated they are probably too high but have also said that the figures may be correct, despite the glitch.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has held out the possibility that a complete review of all radiation data collected since the tsunami might eventually be ordered.
Though the size of more recent leaks is now unclear, it appears radiation is still streaming out of the plant, underscoring TEPCO’s inability to get it under control. The company has increasingly asked for international help in its uphill battle, most recently ordering giant pumps from the U.S. that were to arrive later this month to spray water on the reactors.