Tokyo Electric Power Company admits for the first that radioactive water has been leaking into the sea, something that experts have suspected about the Fukushima nuclear plant since the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
TEPCO had previously denied contaminated water reached the sea, despite increases in radiation levels in underground and sea water samples taken at the plant. Japan's nuclear watchdog said two weeks ago a leak was highly suspected, ordering TEPCO to examine the problem.
Officials with TEPCO contend that the leaking water is limited to a small area surrounding the plant. The company’s general manager, Masayuki Ono, apologized for delaying the admission:
“We would like to offer our deep apology for causing grave worries for many people, especially for people in Fukushima,” Ono said.
The amount and extent of the leakage is unknown. Although TEPCO has admitted that radioactive material has leaked into the sea, the company denies that it has spread beyond the perimeter of the plant.
Others have criticized TEPCO for trying to cover up the extent of the damage.
Officials in Fukushima have been dealing with the earthquake’s aftermath for over two years. It’s suspected that the damaged plant has been leaking radioactive water since the initial disaster in 2011.