Tokyo, Japan, 16 May, 2011 – Greenpeace today criticised TEPCO and the Japanese government for continuing to underplay the seriousness of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis, after TEPCO yesterday admitted (1) that a partial meltdown of the reactor 1 core at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant occurred a mere five hours after the tragic March 11 earthquake and tsunami, followed by a full meltdown within 16 hours.
The environmental organisation says that TEPCO’s admission – that with temperatures reaching 2,800°C, melted fuel dropped and accumulated at the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel, which was the breached, causing radiation to leak from the core and to spread via cooling water to the ground and ocean - clearly shows that there are significant risks to the marine ecosystem along the Fukushima coast (2).
“That it has taken TEPCO more than two months to confirm that a full meltdown took place at Fukushima demonstrates the nuclear industry’s utter failure to deal with the severity of the crisis or the risks involved in nuclear power,” said Jan Beránek, Greenpeace International Nuclear Campaign Leader. “TEPCO should have known that water pumped into reactor vessel 1 would become highly contaminated - it is appalling that company did not do more to prevent massive volumes of contaminated water being released into the ocean, spreading long-lived radioactive contamination along Japan’s East coast.”
“The nuclear industry has claimed situations like Fukushima could not arise with this type of reactor, due to lessons learned in the past. It has taken far too long for Japan’s authorities to admit that they were wrong,” said Beránek. “This has major implications to all previous assumptions about nuclear safety, and it is clear that the public should not put their faith in the nuclear industry to protect their health and safety.”
“TEPCO must immediately make public any other information about the state of the other reactors at Fukushima.”
No data or analysis has been provided on the meltdowns that have probably taken place in units 2 and 3. Those two reactors are significantly larger than unit 1 and contain almost double amount of nuclear material.
Greg McNevin, Greenpeace International Communications, Tokyo +81 80 3930 3341
Greenpeace International Press Desk Hotline, Amsterdam +31 20 7182470
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2) Greenpeace marine radiation monitoring teams have found high levels of contamination in seaweed along the Fukushima coast: http://bit.ly/juh3U5