TOKYO: Officers at Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear energy plant have acknowledged they uncared for to research the reason for defective exhaust filters which are key to stopping radioactive air pollution, after being pressured to switch them twice.
Representatives of the operator, Tokyo Electrical Energy Firm Holdings, made the revelation Monday throughout an everyday overview of the Fukushima Daiichi plant at a gathering with Japanese regulatory authorities. Three reactors on the plant melted following an enormous earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
The filters are designed to forestall particles from escaping into the air from a contaminated water therapy system — referred to as Superior Liquid Processing System — that removes chosen radioactive isotopes within the water to beneath authorized limits.
“On the core of this drawback is TEPCO’s angle,” a Nuclear Regulation Authority commissioner, Nobuhiko Ban, mentioned on the assembly.
TEPCO has been repeatedly criticized for coverups and delayed disclosures of issues on the plant. In February, it mentioned two seismometers at one reactor had remained damaged since final yr and failed to gather knowledge throughout a strong earthquake.
Firm officers mentioned that 24 out of 25 filters connected to the water therapy gear had been discovered broken final month, after an alarm went off as employees have been transferring sludge from the unit to a container, briefly suspending the water therapy. The operation partially resumed final week after the filters have been changed.
TEPCO mentioned it had detected comparable harm in the entire filters two years in the past, however by no means investigated the reason for the issue and didn’t take any preventive steps after changing the filters.
One other regulatory commissioner, Satoru Tanaka, mentioned on the assembly that the utility firm ought to have responded to the issue extra rapidly to attenuate the chance of potential radiation leakage into the setting.
TEPCO officers mentioned mud screens indicated no radiation leaks to the surface or publicity to plant employees contained in the water therapy facility.
Akira Ono, head of TEPCO’s decommissioning unit, mentioned he regretted the utility’s failure to handle the issue earlier. He promised to enhance security administration.
Japanese officers are working with the Worldwide Atomic Vitality Company to arrange to discharge into the ocean the wrecked plant’s cooling water, handled so its radioactivity ranges are beneath authorized limits. Slated to begin in spring 2023, the controversial plan is fiercely opposed by Fukushima’s fishing group, in addition to native residents and close by international locations.
Totally decommissioning the nuclear plant is predicted to take many years, consultants say.