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TEPCO Blasted for Withholding Data as Fukushima Radiation Levels Soar

'This is not an appropriate way to deal with the desire of the public for transparency'

Jacob Chamberlain

On the same day that new measurements from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant show an unprecedented surge in one kind of radiation, new charges surfaced Thursday against TEPCO, the plant's owner, that it has been withholding vital data on a second radioactive substance.

Five months ago, measurements taken by TEPCO showed surging levels of the highly radioactive strontium-90 at a groundwater well. However, despite requests from the country's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) for all such data, TEPCO withheld that information until Wednesday.

"We did not hear about this figure when they detected it last September," Shinji Kinjo, NRA's taskforce on contaminated water issues at Fukushima, told Reuters. "We have been repeatedly pushing TEPCO to release strontium data since November. It should not take them this long to release this information."

"This is not an appropriate way to deal with the desire of the public (for transparency) and in particular, the regulator, which is now very closely regulating issues related to public health, the environment and so on," said Martin Schulz, a senior research fellow at the Fujitsu Research Institute.

Meanwhile, adding to this week's news, TEPCO also announced that samples taken from a separate groundwater well near the plant are now detecting a record 54,000 becquerels per liter of another radioactive substance, cesium.

This level more than doubles all previous records of cesium in groundwater near the plant, the last being 22,000 becquerels detected in a separate observation well in July 2013, The Japan Times reports.

In a separate bit of bad news Shanghai Daily reports that there may be a new leak at the site of the well containing cesium, which is located just 50 meters from the Pacific Ocean.

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