Nuclear Leak from Japan Quake Bigger Than Estimated
Tokyo Electric Power Co. officials announced 400 barrels containing low-level radioactive waste were knocked over and the lids had come off 40 of them. The company earlier estimated that 100 barrels had tipped, reported the Associated Press.
“We made a mistake in calculating the amount that leaked into the ocean,” Tokyo Electric said in a statement. “We apologize and make correction.”
According to the AP, company spokesman Jun Oshima said the amount of radioactive water that leaked into the Sea of Japan was still “one-billionth of Japan’s legal limit.”
The city’s mayor, Hiroshi Aida, ordered the closure of the facility until its safety can be properly assessed.
“The malfunctions and a delay in reporting them fueled concerns about the safety of Japan’s 55 nuclear reactors, which have suffered a string of accidents and cover-ups,” reported the AP. “Nuclear power plants around Japan were ordered to conduct inspections.”
The International Atomic Energy Agency is putting pressure on Japanese officials to undergo a transparent investigation of the incident.
IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei offered to have the agency pull together global experts, reported National Public Radio.
“It doesn’t ‘mean that the reactor structure of system has been damaged,” ElBaradei said, according to NPR. “I would hope and trust that Japan would be fully transparent in its investigation of that accident. The agency would be ready to join Japan through an international team in reviewing that accident and drawing the necessary lessons.”
Other repercussions of the quake include the slowing of the Japanese automobile industry as a result of damage to Riken Corp., a major auto-parts manufacturer in Kashiwazaki.
Production was scaled back at Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co., Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Fuji Heavy Industries, reported the AP.