Japanese regulator takes on greater monitoring responsibility

The Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority has decided to increase its role in overseeing Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501)’s radiation monitoring at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant.

The regulator has found that Tepco has come up short in reporting its data and is to instruct the utility in how to measure radiation rates and create a map of contaminated areas.

Tepco Fukushima
The regulator is stepping in two days after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe presented a new policy allowing for government intervention to deal with leaks of contaminated water at the site 220 kilometers (137 miles) northeast of Tokyo.

The regulator’s concerns increased after Tepco gave a radiation reading on a pipe at a storage tank, which was felt to be an incorrect measure in terms of surface area contamination.

Shunichi Tanaka, the NRA’s chairman, said at a meeting in Tokyo, “Tepco should have used becquerels per unit area,” he said. “The wrongdoing led to concern that there was a lot of contamination but basically this is just surface contamination affecting a 20 square-centimeter area.”

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