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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Is an apology good enough?

March 23, 2016

TEPCO apologizes for meltdown announcement delay


Tokyo Electric Power Company has apologized to a Niigata Prefectural Government panel for not realizing sooner that 3 reactors at its Fukushima Daiichi plant had melted down in March 2011.

The panel is studying the safety of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in the prefecture. Niigata has made verification of the details of the Fukushima accident a prerequisite for the plant's restart.

TEPCO waited 2 months after the Fukushima accident to announce the meltdowns. The panel had questioned the delay. But TEPCO insisted it had no basis for making the determination.

Last month, nearly 5 years after the disaster, the utility revealed it could have declared the reactors had melted down 3 days after the accident if it had adhered to an in-house manual.

On Wednesday, Managing Executive Officer Takafumi Anegawa apologized to the panel. He said the utility should have realized and reported the existence of the manual sooner.

Panel members asked the utility why the manual went unnoticed for 5 years. They said the utility's longstanding and false claim that it had no standards for determining a meltdown makes it an untrustworthy nuclear plant operator.

The prefectural panel says it will resume discussions after a panel of outside experts set up by TEPCO submits a report on the cause of the delay.

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