The International Atomic Energy Agency has urged Japan to stop sending “confusing messages” and unravel facts surrounding the embattled Fukushima nuclear plant.
The world’s nuclear watchdog said Japan has been shrouding the nuclear plant’s state as it scrambles to mop up tons of highly radioactive water recently found to be leaking into the Pacific Ocean two years after the disaster.
The IAEA raised questions on why the leak last week of 300 tons of highly-contaminated water merited a rating of Level 3 on its International Nuclear Event Scale.
“Previous similar events were not rated on the INES scale. The Japanese authorities may wish to prepare an explanation for the media and the public on why they want to rate this event, while previous similar events have not been rated,” the IAEA said in a document submitted to Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority.
The latest fallout was the first rated incident since the March 2011 meltdown, even though the nuclear facility has struggled to contain the damages in years following the crisis.
The IAEA cautioned against the use of INES evaluations, saying this risked clouding the public’s mind.
Japan should instead use “an appropriate communication plan to explain the safety significance of these types of event,” IAEA said.
NRA chairman Shunichi Tanaka said they have yet to grasp the full extent of the leak – how much was spilled, how radioactive it was, and where it was going.
“The upgrade to Level 3 shows how extremely serious the accident is including the issue of toxic water,” Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato said.
“I want the government to realize that this is an emergency and take measures to tackle it.”
by Maesie Bertumen
Photo: IAEA Imagebank/Flickr