Japan utility admits it delayed report of Fukushima meltdown

TOKYO -- The operator of Japan's damaged Fukushima nuclear plant acknowledged Thursday it failed for two months to announce that meltdowns had occurred in the cores of three of the reactors.

See Full Article

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said its officials were unaware of a company emergency manual that defined a meltdown as damage exceeding 5 per cent of a reactor's fuel.

Instead, TEPCO described the condition of the reactors as less serious "core damage" for two months after the plant was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, despite early damage estimates ranging from 25 to 55 per cent.

TEPCO has been accused of softening its language to cover up the seriousness of the disaster. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, Japan's nuclear regulatory unit at the time of the accident, was also reluctant to use the word "meltdown" and replaced a spokesman after he suggested one day after the disaster that one had occurred. His successors further softened their description, saying there was only external damage to the fuel cladding.

TEPCO said its initial wording may have been misleading, but didn't affect its response.

"Core damage or meltdown, it didn't make any difference in how we responded to the emergency, which was to cool the cores no matter what," TEPCO spokesman Shinichi Nakakuki said. He said the company promptly reported the estimated damage percentage to the government as required by law.

In May 2011, TEPCO finally adopted the term "meltdown" after a computer simulation showed fuel in one reactor had almost entirely melted and fallen to the bottom of the primary containment chamber, and that two other reactor cores had melted significantly.

Experts are developing remote-controlled robots to locate and assess the melted fuel -- key to a successful decommissioning of the plant, which will take decades.

TEPCO and government officials in charge of the cleanup of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant say they are unaware of any internationally accepted definition of what constitutes a meltdown, and don't know where the company's 5 per cent benchmark came from when it was set in 2003.

TEPCO said it discovered the emergency manual this month and promised an investigation into why it was overlooked.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • Samsung to announce cause of Galaxy Note 7 fire on Jan. 23

    Tech & Science CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- Samsung Electronics said Friday it will announce on Jan. 23 the reason why its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones overheated and caught fire. The announcement will be livestreamed in Chinese, English and Korean on its websites. Source
  • Watch a blindfolded gamer beat Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out

    Tech & Science CTV News
    It takes a lot of guts to get in the ring with former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. But a Charlottetown, P.E.I. man found the courage and finger dexterity to knock out “Iron” Mike while blindfolded. Source
  • Like humans, capuchin monkeys can determine probability, study finds

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Science is continually trying to find an answer to the question, what makes humans unique? Is it our social interactions? Tools? Ability to reason? Time and again, what were thought to be unique human traits turn out to be shared in some form or another with other animals. Source
  • Arctic researcher shares 50 years of watching climate change happen

    Tech & Science CBC News
    more stories from this episodeWhy thousands are heading to the Women's March in WashingtonArctic researcher shares 50 years of watching climate change happenCanadians with nut allergies aren't loving McDonald's new McFlurry flavourWhy was Chelsea Manning's sentence commuted but no pardon for Snowden?Full Episode Source
  • Watch Mexico's 'fire' volcano blast its top again

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Mexico's 'fire' volcano has blasted its top again. Dramatic video showed Colima spewing incandescent material early Wednesday morning. The explosion was accompanied by a large plume of ash and smoke that rose some 2,000 metres above the crater, with winds carrying the ash towards the northeast, Luis Felipe Puente, head of Mexico's emergency services, said via his Twitter account. Source
  • Why ants might be better at navigating than you

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Have you ever arrived at a destination only to realize you have no idea how to get back to where you started? If so, I've got some bad news for you — ants are better at navigation than you are. Source
  • New species of moth named after Donald Trump

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Donald Trump's name won't just go down in history as the 45th president of the United States. He'll be forever remembered in taxonomy, as the namesake of a newly discovered species of moth. The new moth — named Neopalpa donaldtrumpi — is just the second belonging to a genus of twirler moths. Source
  • 'Confluence of events' behind mystery fish deaths off N.S.: scientist

    Tech & Science CTV News
    HALIFAX -- A federal scientist says the recent high-profile fish kill off southwestern Nova Scotia may have been caused by a "confluence of events," including fish behaviour, weather, and various ecological factors such as predators. Source
  • NASA scientists to spend 8 months in isolation to pave road to Mars

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A group of NASA-funded researchers are poised to enter an isolated geodesic dome on a remote Hawaii volcano to study human behaviour in long-term space exploration, including a planned voyage to Mars. The six scientists enter their new home Thursday on the Big Island's Mauna Loa volcano for an eight-month stay. Source
  • Beijing to spend $2.7 billion on cleaning capital's air

    Tech & Science CTV News
    BEIJING -- Chinese state media say Beijing will spend US$2.7 billion to fight air pollution in the capital this year. The official Xinhua News Agency said Thursday that part of the money will be used to close or upgrade more than 2,000 polluting factories, replace the use of coal with clean energy on the outskirts of the city and phase out 300,000 high-polluting older vehicles. Source