(NaturalNews) The company that owns the now-shuttered Fukushima nuclear power facility in Japan, which sustained three reactor core meltdowns following a massive earthquake and tsunami back in 2011, is once again in hot water for fudging the numbers on radiation leakage. New reports indicate that the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) grossly understated levels of radiation detected in a groundwater pool last summer by a factor of five, the latest deception in an extensive string of lies told by the company since the disaster first occurred.
According to Reuters, Tepco employees failed to properly measure radiation levels in a ground well located a mere 80 feet from the ocean, next to the plant. Initial readings, which were taken last July, recorded 900,000 becquerels per liter (Bq/L) of radioactive strontium-90 in the well, an amount that was not long after determined to be incorrect. But rather than 'fess up to its mistake, Tepco instead decided to withhold this information from the public for the greater of half a year.
"Tepco said last week that groundwater drawn from a monitoring well last July contained a record 5 million [Bq/L] of dangerous radioactive strontium-90 - more than five times the total beta radiation reading of 900,000 [Bq/L] recorded in the well, which is around 25 metres from the ocean," writes Mari Saito for Reuters.
Nuclear regulator says Tepco lacks 'basic understanding' of how radiation works
When questioned about the faulty reading, Tepco executives blamed calibration errors with equipment that detects both strontium and all-beta radiation. But some regulators are convinced that Tepco simply does not know what it is doing when it comes to mitigating a nuclear disaster of this magnitude, which may explain why the company failed to publicly disclose the blunder.
"Almost three years since the reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi station, Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) still lacks basic understanding of measuring and handling radiation," adds Saito, citing Nuclear Regulation Authority chairman Shunichi Tanaka in his rebuke of Tepco's mismanagement of the disaster.
"Something like this cannot happen," emphasized Tanaka. "This (data) is what becomes the basis of various decisions, so they must do their utmost to avoid mistakes in measuring radiation."
Tepco caught lying about when it discovered detection 'error,' which was probably also a lie
If Tepco had simply come clean about the mistake immediately after it was first discovered last summer, the company may have been able to repair some of its tarnished image by proving to the world that safety, and not merely saving face, is its first priority. But Tepco apparently did the exact opposite by withholding its updated readings for months, only to later change its story.
"It's time for the international community to take a much closer look at Fukushima and demand accountability and oversight," wrote one disgusted commenter in response to The Japan Times' coverage of the controversy. "TEPCO can no longer be trusted, this much should be absolutely [clear] by now."
Other commenters have expressed similar sentiments, with some calling for Tepco officials and others complicit in the coverup, including government officials, to be arrested for their crimes against humanity.
"TEPCO has all the training and proper equipment to... read the actual radiation levels everywhere in and outside of the power plant," wrote one incensed individual. "They have been lying to the people all along while they continue to dump millions of gallons of radioactive waste into the Pacific Ocean every day!"