TEPCO Must Immediately Disclose All Information on Fukushima Reactors:Greenpeace

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tokyo, (PanOrient News) Greenpeace today criticised Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO, and the Japanese government "for continuing to underplay the seriousness of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis, after TEPCO yesterday admitted that a partial meltdown of the reactor 1 core at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant occurred a mere five hours after the tragic March 11 earthquake and tsunami, followed by a full meltdown within 16 hours.

A statement by the environmental organisation says that TEPCO’s admission – that with temperatures reaching 2,800°C, melted fuel dropped and accumulated at
the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel, which was the breached, causing radiation to leak from the core and to spread via cooling water to the ground and ocean - clearly shows that there are significant risks to the marine ecosystem along the Fukushima coast.

On Sunday, TEPCO said that a nuclear fuel meltdown at the No. 1 reactor of the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi power plant is believed to have occurred around 16 hours after the March 11 quake and tsunami crippled the complex in northeastern Japan. The reactor, the fuel of which was found Thursday to have largely melted, was already in a critical state at 6:50 a.m. on March 12 with most of its fuel having melted and fallen to the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel, the plant operator said based on its provisional assessment.

“That it has taken TEPCO more than two months to confirm that a full meltdown took place at Fukushima demonstrates the nuclear industry’s utter failure to deal with the severity of the crisis or the risks involved in nuclear power,” said Jan Beránek, Greenpeace International Nuclear Campaign Leader. “TEPCO should have known that water pumped into reactor vessel 1 would become highly contaminated - it is appalling that company did not do more to prevent massive volumes of
contaminated water being released into the ocean, spreading long-lived radioactive contamination along Japan’s East coast.”

“The nuclear industry has claimed situations like Fukushima could not arise with this type of reactor, due to lessons learned in the past. It has taken far too long for Japan’s authorities to admit that they were wrong,” said Beránek. “This has major implications to all previous assumptions about nuclear safety, and it is clear that the public should not put their faith in the nuclear industry to protect their health and safety.”

“TEPCO must immediately make public any other information about the state of the other reactors at Fukushima,” the statement said.

No data or analysis has been provided on the meltdowns that have probably taken place in units 2 and 3 that are significantly larger than unit 1 and contain almost double amount of nuclear material.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government and TEPCO said Monday they will stick to the utility's timetable to bring the current nuclear crisis under control by January at the latest despite the latest finding of a meltdown in one of the plant's reactors.

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