Roundup: TEPCO blasted for concealing latest radioactive leak for nearly a year

Local fisherman in Fukushima Prefecture, home to Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s stricken Daichi nuclear power station, blamed the plant’s operator on Wednesday for knowingly allowing radioactive substances from a rainwater drainage ditch linked to one of its buildings to flow freely into the sea since April last year.

The leader of a local fishing corporative, Masakazu Yabuki, lambasted the embattled utility for its latest gaffe, four years after a massive earthquake-triggered tsunami breached the plant’s defenses, leading to multiple nuclear meltdowns and the worst nuclear crisis since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

“I don’t understand why you (TEPCO) kept silent about the leakage even though you knew about it. Fishery operators are absolutely shocked,” Yabuki, chief of the Iwaki fisheries cooperative, told TEPCO officials at a meeting.

TEPCO confessed on Tuesday that it had found a pool of highly- radioactive water on the roof of one of its buildings, which had likely been leaking into the sea via a drainage ditch when it rained.

The embattled utility said it had been aware of the leak since April last year, and it stems from the roof of the building of the No. 2 reactor, where it has detected 29,400 becquerels of radioactive cesium per liter at the site of the roof. These readings are more than 10 times higher than readings taken at other sites on the roof, TEPCO said.

TEPCO also said that water containing 52,000 becquerels of beta ray-emitting radioactive substances such as strontium-90, were also detected.

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