26 Février 2016
A Japanese expert has criticized the operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant for its failure to follow a manual on judging when a meltdown occurs.
Professor Emeritus Hirotada Hirose of Tokyo Woman's Christian University called the failure "a big error".
Nuclear fuel in 3 of the plant's reactors melted down following the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th, 2011.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, did not admit there had been meltdowns until 2 months after the accident.
The utility previously said it could find no grounds to conclude the reactors had melted down.
But it admitted on Wednesday that the utility's in-house manual noted that damage of more than 5 percent to a reactor core should be called a meltdown.
If the utility had followed the manual, it should have assessed the damage was a meltdown 3 days after the accident.
Hirose said it was a big mistake that TEPCO officials did not follow the manual's guidelines.
He says the delay in announcing the meltdown made people think that the situation at the plant wasn't as serious as it was.
Hirose said TEPCO has repeated accidents and falsified data, and that nobody will be able to trust the firm unless it changes such practices. He said TEPCO should proactively provide information on its errors.