Another revision of peak radiation levels, now up to 2,200 millisieverts, and the discovery that an underground leak is pouring 400 tons of irradiated water a day into the underground reactor chambers at Fukushima is doing nothing to reassure the public that Japan has got a handle on the disaster.
No amount of ministerial statements can dispel the impression Fukushima’s operator Tepco and Japan’s nuclear regulator are at each other’s throats.
“As I’ve said before, Tokyo Electric has not been properly disclosing the situation about the contamination and the levels of contamination,” Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), told reporters.
“This has caused confusion domestically and internationally. Because of that, the Japanese government has a sense of crisis and I, personally, feel a little angry about it,” he said.
“I wouldn’t go as far as to say Japan’s reputation has been made worse, but releasing incorrect information about the radiated water problem has created trouble around the world,” Tanaka added.
“Regarding the issue of contaminated water, the government has made it clear that it will keep ahead of the issue and amass technology and know-how, so that it will be resolved swiftly,” said Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga at the latest news conference.
Japan this week pledged nearly half a billion dollars to contain leaks and decontaminate radioactive water stored at Fukushima.
But more than two years after the accident instead of progress being made, the news gets worse almost by the day, with many now saying the disaster has spun out of control, and that its full extent has been hidden from the public.
Experts continue to question whether Tepco can handle what is an unprecedented clean-up due to the amount of radioactive material on the reactor site and around its coastal location.