TEPCO forms 3rd-party verification panel over false info to block on-site reactor probe
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) set up a third-party verification panel on Feb. 18 to examine why and how the utility firm gave false information to block an attempt by a Diet-appointed investigative panel to enter the No. 1 reactor building at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.
The third-party panel plans to hold its first meeting on Feb. 21. The panel is to investigate why and how TEPCO, the operator of the troubled Fukushima nuclear power station, gave false information last year to block the Diet-appointed panel from conducting on-site inspections of the reactor building as well as whether senior TEPCO officials were involved in the wrongdoing.
The verification panel, which is comprised of three lawyers, is headed by Yasuhisa Tanaka, former justice chief of the Sendai High Court. Two other lawyers on the panel are Zenzo Sasaki, former chief prosecutor at the Kyoto District Prosecutors Office, and Takashi Kondo, professor at Omiya Law School. On the selection of the three lawyers, Masayuki Ono, acting head of TEPCO's nuclear power and facilities section, told a news conference, "We selected legal experts who had not been involved in the management of our company."
In February 2012, the Diet-appointed panel tasked with investigating the Fukushima nuclear disaster asked TEPCO to allow its members to conduct an on-site inspection of the inside of the fourth floor of the No. 1 reactor building to check the emergency isolation condenser -- a key component behind the outbreak of the accident at the No. 1 reactor. But TEPCO told the panel, "It is completely dark inside the reactor building." Therefore, the panel decided not to conduct the inspection. But in fact, sunlight penetrated the inside of the reactor building.
February 19, 2013(Mainichi Japan)