Fukushima leak may have been overstated: nuclear watchdog

Tokyo Electric Power Co's (Tepco) recent report of a 300-metric-ton leak of contaminated water from the Fukushima atomic plant was based on an assumption that the tank was full at the time of the incident, according to Shunichi Tanaka chairman of Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA).

Tepco's report may not be reliable since the utility did not have a gauge in place to measure the tank's water level, the NRA claimed Thursday.

"We have no idea whether it’s actually 300 tons that leaked," Tanaka told Bloomberg.

The NRA says that it has a duty to provide the Japanese people with the correct figures as soon as possible, and that it may need to change the  '3' (serious incident) ranking it gave the recent leak as new information arises. The ranking is based on the 7-stage International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES), which ranges from '1' (anomaly) to '7' (major accident).

Reports that nuclear plume from the incident will reach the United States, and presumably the west coast of Canada, by 2014 have begun to surface.


See also: Fukushima radioactive plume to hit the US by 2014