Tokyo/Fukushima: The Japanese Government slammed the operator of the crippled nuclear plants in Fukushima for providing incorrect details about the levels of radiation escaping from the plant. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) made an “unforgivable error” when it announced that the radiation levels were 10 million times higher than normal, said the chief government spokesperson on Monday. 

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edono criticized the operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), for mentioning the radiation levels as 10 million times higher than the normal in water seeping from the no. 2 reactor’s turbine building. However, the original figure was at 100,000 times. 

"Considering the fact that the monitoring of radioactivity is a major condition to ensure safety, this kind of mistake is absolutely unacceptable," Edano said, more than two weeks after the monster magnitude-9 quake and tsunami hit Japan's northeast leaving approximately 30,000 people dead and many missing.

The official further said that he has strictly instructed TEPCO to provide right data and stay away from providing false information.

Edano said radiation analysis served as the basis for ensuring safety at the plant, where workers were battling to safely cool the reactors and other machinery.

TEPCO on Monday apologised for the "mistake" and said a worker who took the reading in a part of No.2 reactor's cooling system had no time to confirm with a second reading because the radiation level was so high that he had to escape from the area.

"The number is not credible. We are very sorry," TEPCO spokesman Takashi Kurita said.

Engineers were trying to restore the power station's crippled cooling functions, while high radioactive concentrations were again detected in the nearby seawater.

Edano said the highly radioactive water found at the basement of the No. 2 reactor's turbine building is "believed to have temporarily had contact with fuel rods (in the reactor's core) that have partially melted."

So far, 19 workers have been exposed to radiation exceeding 100 millisieverts at the plant, TEPCO said.

Among the 19, three received treatment at a radiation research centre in Chiba Prefecture after they were exposed to radiation of 173-180 millisieverts on Thursday. They were discharged Monday, with officials of the centre saying the exposure had not affected their health.

 

READ MORE: Radiation levels soar in seawater

 

(Agencies)