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Top > Releases ・ Announcements > Press Releases > 2013 > Announcement Problems regarding the Contaminated Water Outflow into the Station Port

Press Releases 2013

Press Release (Jul 26,2013)Announcement Problems regarding the Contaminated Water Outflow into the Station Port

1. Overview
On June 19, we announced that we had detected highly concentrated tritium from underground water at the east side of Units 1/2's Turbine Buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Afterwards, with regard to the outflow of the water into the port, we maintained a position of collecting and evaluating the evidential data; and consequently, on July 22, we recognized the issue. We once again deeply apologize that as a result of this process, a sense of distrust arose among the general public and those living in Fukushima towards our methods of information sharing and decision making, and our attitude regarding disclosure.

A response was made by the "Immediate Response Headquarters for Reliability", where the problem was promptly discussed, and by the "Nuclear Reform Special Task Force", where issues were listed, causes analyzed and measures compiled. The results were reported to the "Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee" today.

In retrospect, when announcing the issue to the public on June 19, we should have made public that although there was no definite data indicating that the contaminated water would flow out into the port, there was a high possibility that this would be the case, and therefore, we have conducted countermeasures, taking precautions against the worst case scenario. 【Point 1】

Furthermore, although we could have stated quickly that it was even highly possible that water had flowed into the port when densely contaminated water was detected at a point even closer to the port on June 29 and July 7, we continued to stick steadfastly to our task of identifying definitive data in order to confirm the outflow incident. 【Point 2】

Moreover, this issue was not reported to the Board of directors in an appropriate manner.

2. Cause of the issue
The major cause of this was that there was great fear, within the whole company, of alarming the public of an outflow incident guided solely by guesswork, without crucial evidence, and particular anxiety and concern about damage to the fishery industry resulting from harmful rumors. We felt it best to reserve judgment until we could establish "definitive grounds", rather than announce the associated risks immediately.

In more detail, the following causes and faults were identified.
(1) Considering the characteristics of, and the common scientific knowledge on underground water, it must have been necessary to admit the inevitability that contaminated water could flow out into the port over time. Upon such premise, the nuclear-related divisions began to plan countermeasures such as soil improvement work, countermeasures against contaminated water in the trench, and the installation of a water shielding wall in the sea. Nevertheless we did not state the possibility of water flowing out into the port 【Point 1】

(2) When addressing inquires from the media, the Corporate Communications Dept. and our representatives at the press conference took an inflexible attitude, based on the belief that they are not allowed to make information public before the data in question has been thoroughly organized and evaluated. They were not able to adopt an attitude whereby, even when the data is incomplete, they actively make this data public in a piece-by-piece manner. 【Point 4】 Moreover, the Social Communication Office (SC Office) also neither fully warned them about the risks associated with, nor fully pursued corrective pressure regarding the issues we made public on June 19 and the attitude taken since then. Thus, the SC Office has not been able to achieve their mission of "constantly verifying that our way of thinking and judgment criteria in the company as a whole (particularly in the nuclear-related groups) are not deviating from those prevailing in society; and correcting them if they are." 【Point 3】

(3) Below are the reasons why we made this problem public on July 22, while we had reported it to the Nuclear Regulation Authority on July 18: 【Point 4】
- As the authority expressed concern over the existence of a correlation between the groundwater level fluctuation and the tidal level fluctuation on July 10, we explained the groundwater level fluctuation data of the observation holes to the Nuclear Regulation Authority on July 18. At this point, we came to judge that this relationship could be "definitive grounds" for the outflow.
- However, the groundwater level data including the data in question, usually extracted at other sections inside the nuclear-related division for operating purposes, were sent for the first time to our representatives at the press conference and the other related persons before dawn on July 18. Therefore, a finite period of time was needed to re-verify and organize the data.
- Furthermore, a conference to explain to the fisheries cooperatives about the details of the bypass system of underground water was to be held on July 23 and 24. We were preparing to issue a full announcement before July 22, in order to avoid releasing information on the outflow problem after the conference. However, preparation of the documents, which included the consideration of countermeasures other than the measures already implemented, had not been completed as of July 19. Consequently, we announced the case at the regular press conference on July 22, after conducting work to complete the document over the weekend.
- Nevertheless, we could have acknowledged the probability of the contaminated water flowing out into the port, regardless of waiting for the groundwater level data and tidal level data in order to establish definitive grounds for the outflow.

3. Countermeasures
We will take the following concrete measures, particularly with regard to the socially sensitive issue of radiation, carrying through our basic policy of, "State any risks or worst-case scenarios envisaged from the assessment in a prompt and straightforward manner, even if clear evidence cannot be adequately established, without fear of the consequences".

(1) Risk communication will be improved when explaining developments to relevant parties or holding regular press conferences. We will prioritize the announcement of facts and risks, even if there are fears of raising concerns and anxiety over countermeasures that are not yet planned. In particular, the risks and effects of radioactive materials and contaminated water will be stated in a straightforward manner. The SC Office will check the content and method of announcements concerning radiation leaks or their risks, not only before but also after the announcements and, in the event that a problem is found, forcibly effect a prompt correction. The Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee will supervise the performance of the office.

(2) All scheduled radioactive density or radiation dose measurements will be thoroughly announced at the planned stage and the results promptly released. Data related to cases other than radioactive density will be announced sequentially, as soon as they are prepared.

(3) In the planning stage of radioactive density or radiation dose measurements, the action requirement levels will be set, and managers in charge of radiation survey will be deployed at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and the company's headquarters respectively. In the case that an abnormality is found or there is the possibility of such, the measuring section will report to the managers of radiation survey and the managers will promptly convene related departments or divisions and conduct cross-organizational management.

(4) We will steadily take the following measures (previously announced) to prevent and control contaminated water outflow.
- Expand the range of monitoring points both inside and outside the port. (Additional Measure)
- Conduct soil improvement work by grouting with liquid glass in the area between the intakes of Units 1 and 2 in 10-group organization (1st row due to be completed by the end of July; 2nd row due to be completed by August 10).
- Start preparing for soil improvement in the area between the intakes of Units 2 and 3, and Units 3 and 4. (Work to build a radiation shielding wall to reduce radiation exposure, and to remove obstacles, has already been in progress since the end of July).
- Remove contaminated water from around the intakes of Units 1 and 2, and seal branched trenches (power cable trenches), (due to be completed by the end of October).
- Purify contaminated water in the main trench (seawater piping trench) with mobile radiation removal equipment (due to start in September) and accelerate installation of pipes to transfer contaminated water to the existing water treatment facilities (due to be completed by September).
- Verify the technical possibility of blocking the flow of the accumulated water inside the main trench (seawater piping trench) at the location where it is connected to the Turbine Building, and when actualized, drain the water inside and seal the trench.
- Steady construction of the water shielding wall in the sea (started construction in June 2012; due to be completed by September 2014), etc.

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