24 Mars 2013
March 22, 2013
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) apologized on March 21 for a delay of around three hours in reporting a power outage at the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant that left it unable to cool spent nuclear fuel.
"We sincerely apologize. We are deeply regretful over the delay in reporting the incident and for causing anxiety to residents," said Yoshiyuki Ishizaki, representative of the TEPCO Fukushima recovery headquarters, at a press conference at the prefectural office in Fukushima.
The power outage occurred at 6:57 p.m. on March 18, stopping cooling systems for facilities including the number 1, 3, and 4 reactors' spent nuclear fuel pools. By 12:12 a.m. on March 20, power had been restored.
TEPCO notified the Fukushima Prefectural Government and the governments of 13 municipalities near the plant of the outage around one hour after it occurred, but it did not contact the media until around three hours after the outage.
"We were focused on finding out what was going on at the site, and did not think enough about prefectural residents. In the two years since the accident we thought we had prepared ourselves to quickly make announcements, but we will do so from now," said Ishizaki.
Meanwhile, the Nuclear Regulatory Agency on March 21 decided that it will call on TEPCO to speed up the implementation of additional power sources, installing long-term equipment, and improving its ability to recovery from power outages. The agency will consider specifically what to instruct at a meeting of experts on March 29, after receiving a report from TEPCO.
The agency took around three hours to announce the power outage after being notified of it by TEPCO, and has said that it will "endeavor to appropriately release information" from now on.