Fukushima Leak Finally Given “Serious Incident” Status

Dees Illustration

Paul Lawrance
Activist Post

On Wednesday, a week after initial consideration, Japan’s nuclear regulator made the decision to move the situation unfolding at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant from a level one “Anomaly” on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), to a level three “Serious Incident”.

Last Monday Tokyo Electric Power Company announced that 300 tons of radioactive water had leaked from a storage tank into the ground. The situation at the time was given a level one on the INES.

Two days the after the initial rating Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) first announced considerations of upping the situation on the scale.

TEPCO claimed that the radioactivity of the leaked water would give a human a 5-year dose of radiation for every hour of exposure. A situation that is far from a anomaly.

According to NRA spokesman Juntaro Yamada, the decision was made after the regulator had consulted with the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency.

Tuesday TEPCO stated that the 300 ton leak may have started in July.

Businessweek reports:

The leak at a contaminated water storage tank discovered last week at the Fukushima plant may have continued since last month before it was detected and the tank drained, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) said. 

Crews found elevated levels of radiation in July near where the leak was ultimately detected on Aug. 19, Mayumi Yoshida, a spokeswoman for the utility known as Tepco, said today by phone.

At the start of the week the Japanese government compared TEPCO’s handling of the situation to ‘Whack-a-Mole’.

“We’ve allowed Tokyo Electric to deal with the contaminated water situation on its own and they’ve essentially turned it into a game of ‘Whack-a-Mole,’” Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, is drawing up plans to take over the handling of the contamination sometime in September.

Prime minister Shinzo Abe promises more government funds for the clean up effort.

Paul Lawrance writes for Eyes Open Report, where this first appeared.

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