x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Fukushima operator slammed for understating damage at nuclear plant

The operator of Japan's tsunami-damaged nuclear-power plant continues to drag its feet over investigations and has tried to understate the true amount of damage at the complex, investigators said yesterday.

TOKYO // The operator of Japan's tsunami-damaged nuclear-power plant continues to drag its feet over investigations and has tried to understate the true amount of damage at the complex, investigators said yesterday.

The report, by a government-appointed panel, is the latest to fault Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) and the government for doing too little to protect the Fukushima plant from the earthquake and tsunami that caused three meltdowns. It was the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

The panel also said Tepco had yet to address problems within its own culture that contributed to its failings in the crisis - including employees "not fully trained to think for themselves".

"We still don't perceive much enthusiasm in the accident investigation from" the company, the report said. "Tepco must take our findings sincerely and resolve the problems to achieve a higher level of safety culture across the company."

The panel said Tepco covered up unfavourable data in a computer analysis that was designed to measure the extent of damage inside the reactors this year. In a hearing, Tepco officials acknowledged the simulation was inadequate, but they have yet to make another attempt.

Employees demonstrated expertise in emergency equipment but many failed to speak up when most needed during the crisis, the report said.