| TOKYO, Sept 5
TOKYO, Sept 5 Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco)
, the operator of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant,
is still putting out questionable data on radiation leaks,
causing confusion and a heightened sense of crisis, Japan's
nuclear regulator said.
The stakes have been raised as Japan makes a final pitch for
Tokyo to host the 2020 Olympic Games, while a steady stream of
bad news from Fukushima, the site of the worst atomic disaster
in a quarter of a century, leaves officials frustrated by
Tepco's missteps and miscalculations.
"As I've said before, Tokyo Electric has not been properly
disclosing the situation about the contamination and the levels
of contamination," Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear
Regulation Authority (NRA), told reporters on Thursday.
"This has caused confusion domestically and internationally.
Because of that, the Japanese government has a sense of crisis
and I, personally, feel a little angry about it," he said.
"I wouldn't go as far as to say Japan's reputation has been
made worse, but releasing incorrect information about the
radiated water problem has created trouble around the world,"
Japan this week pledged nearly half a billion dollars to
contain leaks and decontaminate radioactive water stored at
Fukushima that threaten the clean-up from the March 2011
earthquake and tsunami that crippled the plant and brought
Japan's nuclear power industry to a virtual halt.
Officials have been keen to assure the world that Tokyo will
be safe during the Olympics in seven years, if chosen. Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe flies to Buenos Aires later on Thursday from
a Group of 20 meeting in St. Petersburg to lead Tokyo's final
pitch before the Olympic committee. Madrid and Istanbul are the
"We would like to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games
here in Tokyo and welcome athletes, people affiliated with the
events and visitors from all over the world," said Chief Cabinet
Secretary Yoshihide Suga, adding that food and water in Japan is
Tepco has been criticised for its failure to prepare for the
kind of disaster that struck two and a half years ago, and has
been accused of covering up the extent of the problems since.
The plant has been beset with power outages and other
problems that have prompted experts to question whether Tepco
can handle what is an unprecedented clean-up due to the amount
of radioactive material on the site and its coastal location.
The company's disclosure of problems at the site and the
quality of its data have been a source of constant criticism.
"I have a certain expert knowledge of Tepco's data and their
data is not reliable," Kayoko Nakamura, one of five NRA
commissioners, said at Thursday's briefing.
After repeated denials, Tepco has admitted that contaminated
water has flowed into the Pacific Ocean, and it has discovered
leaks from above-ground tanks used to store irradiated water
after it has been washed over melted uranium fuel rods to keep
them from overheating.
Earlier this week, Tanaka said concerns about contamination
in the Pacific were "misplaced."
Tepco said on Thursday there is a possibility that some of
the water that leaked from one storage tank has reached
groundwater at the site.
Measurable radiation from water leaking from the facility is
mostly confined to the harbour around the plant, officials have
said, and is not an environmental threat to other countries as
the radiation will be diluted by the sea.
Tepco also said on Thursday that the arm of a crane snapped
while removing debris from the building housing the damaged No.3
reactor at the Fukushima plant. There were no injuries or damage
to the building.
(Additional reporting by James Topham and Kiyoshi Takenaka;
Writing by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)