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Nuclear watchdog slams TEPCO over long overdue 'discovery' of meltdown manual

The head of Japan's nuclear watchdog has slammed Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) over its recent announcement that it found an in-house manual containing criteria for judging nuclear reactor core meltdowns almost five years after the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant accident.

    Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), told a regular press conference on March 2, "It represents the corporate culture of TEPCO that has remained unchanged since before the nuclear accident. I want the company to seriously reflect upon its actions.

    "While the company had properly prepared a manual, it insists that it failed to notice the existence of the manual up until recently. I wonder what the utility created the manual for?" Tanaka continued, raising questions about TEPCO's assertion that the manual only turned up in February this year.

    With regard to the recent automatic shutdown of the No. 4 reactor at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Takahama Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture, which took place only three days after the reactor was reactivated on Feb. 26, Tanaka said, "I had told the utility that being free from any trouble would lead to regaining public confidence. The accident has betrayed such expectations, and it is utterly regrettable."

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