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Asia-pacific

Nuclear plant reviews radiation data after errors

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-04-01

The operator of Japan’s crippled nuclear plant has been ordered to review its radiation data after the country’s safety agency found several errors in previously disclosed radioactivity levels.

AFP - Tokyo Electric Power Co, operator of a stricken Japanese nuclear plant, is reviewing previously disclosed radiation data due to a possible calculation error, Japan's nuclear safety agency said Friday.

The beleaguered company, already under fire for earlier data errors, has monitored levels of radioactivity in the air, soil, and pools of water at the plant and nearby seawater, and has disclosed a barrage of radiation data.

TEPCO said it had found problems with its computer analysis of the radioactive material tellurium, after the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said TEPCO's analysis of groundwater radiation at the site could be erroneous.

The agency said TEPCO was reviewing reported levels of such isotopes as tellurium 129 and molybdenum 99.

"The agency ordered the company to review the data because we found that there is an error in the calculation programmes of each isotope," said a spokesman for Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

"We believe this mistake in its data report may damage the trust in TEPCO and is very regrettable," said Hidehiko Nishiyama, a senior official of the agency, which supervises the operation of the nation's nuclear plants.

The agency had earlier questioned a TEPCO report that radioactive iodine-131 in groundwater below Japan's stricken nuclear plant was 10,000 times higher than the safe level set by the government.

TEPCO said it found no problems in its radioactive iodine and caesium readings, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

The utility drew fire for erroneously reporting last week that radiation in pools of water in the turbine room of a stricken reactor at the plant hit 10 million times the normal level, later correcting it to a still dangerously high level.

Three weeks on from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the situation at Fukushima Daiichi remains unresolved after the plant's reactor cooling systems were knocked out, triggering explosions and fires and releasing radiation.

Radiation from the plant northeast of Tokyo has wafted into the air, contaminating farm produce and drinking water, and has seeped into the Pacific Ocean, although officials stress there is no imminent health threat.

The government slammed the erroneous TEPCO data as "absolutely unacceptable", and the company pledged to be more careful.

As the nuclear crisis risks turning into a quagmire of erratic and opaque data, the government Friday sought expert help in relaying data to the public.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano met six nuclear experts and asked for help "so as to appropriately convey information, such as the radiation impacts on human health, to citizens", Jiji Press said quoting the official.
 

Date created : 2011-04-01

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