* Japanese public also in the dark over clean-up, say critics
* Utility says radiation makes it hard to reach all parts of facility
* Says trying to explain clean-up problems to the public
* Chair of third party panel blames incompetence, not deliberate policy
By Antoni Slodkowski and Mari Saito
- Two and a half years after the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, the operator of Japan’s wrecked Fukushima plant faces a daunting array of unknowns.
The inability of the utility, known as Tepco, to get to grips with the situation raises questions over whether it can successfully decommission the Fukushima Daiichi plant, say industry experts and analysts.
“They let people know about the good things and hide the bad things. This culture of cover up hasn’t changed since the disaster,” said Atsushi Kasai, a former researcher at the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute.
Tepco’s handling of the clean-up has complicated Japan’s efforts to restart its 50 nuclear power plants, almost all of which have been idled since the disaster over local community concerns about safety……
Tepco’s improvised efforts to stop radioactive water leaking into the sea include sinking an 800-meter-long steel barrier along the coastline, injecting the ground with solidifying chemicals and possibly even freezing the ground with technology used in subway-tunnel construction.
Industry experts are not impressed.
“You can’t do temporary fixes in nuclear power,” said Goto. “They say everything’s fine until bad data comes out.”