Japan’s nuclear watchdog has asked the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to assess the risk posed by damage to one of its reactors, noting that there is a chance of a long-term release of radiation.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said it wants Tokyo Electric Power, the operator of the plant, to look into the damage suffered by a fuel assembly in Reactor No.3 and to submit a report on its assessment of risks.
The reactor has been damaged by a leak of highly radioactive water that was discovered on Tuesday.
The NRA said that it had already instructed Tokyo Electric to take action to prevent further contamination and to make the necessary preparations to deal with any further problems.
The watchdog urged TEPCO to immediately take all possible steps to identify the source of the leak, to ascertain the extent of damage to the reactor, and to assess the risk posed by residual radiation being released over a long period of time.
The NRA also called on the utility to take measures to reduce the potential impact of this incident on the environment and the public.