5 Juillet 2012
Report says earthquake may be to blame
An expert panel appointed by Japan's Diet is pointing out that damage caused by quake tremors to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility should not be ruled out as another key cause of the nuclear accident, along with the massive tsunami.
The panel's report released on Thursday raised questions about the earlier conclusion reached by the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company.
The operator's report said the accident was primarily caused by a higher-than-anticipated tsunami. It ruled out a possibility that the earthquake itself affected any of the plant's key safety equipment.
But the Diet panel criticizes the operator's report, saying that analysis performed by outside experts, and an examination of operational records, do not necessarily lead to such a conclusion.
The panel paid particular attention to the Number One reactor. It says it cannot rule out the possibility that the quake tremors caused tiny cracks in a pipe and led to a loss of the cooling system.
The panel is calling for further examinations to answer many remaining uncertainties.