“Surprise!” Two more reactors melted down and TEPCO conveniently left that part out of story — “Now people are used to the situation” says professor

Not one but three nuclear reactors suffered a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in the days following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in north-east Japan.

But Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) conveniently left that part of the story out, until now.

Tepco insists that the meltdown at reactors 2 and 3 were not as big of a deal as the one suffered at reactor 1, mostly because the reactors were covered in water and so didn’t threaten the compound, according to the Guardian. Tepco also said that temperatures at the fuel rods remained well below dangerous levels.

But the new announcement further raises doubts about the handling of the crisis by Tepco, which suffered the biggest annual loss by any Japanese firm outside the financial sector last week.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan has said of the public distrust of the announcements: “I am very sorry that the public doesn’t trust the various disclosures the government has made about the accident.”

Koichi Nakano, a political science professor at Sophia University, told Reuters that the announcement was timed to minimize the impact on the public. “In the early stages of the crisis Tepco may have wanted to avoid panic,” Nakano said. “Now people are used to the situation.”

Somehow that doesn’t make me feel better.

A delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will arrive in Tokyo shortly to inspect the plant. They will present their findings at a meeting of U.N. ministers on June 20.

Source: www.WashingtonPost.com

By Elizabeth Flock  |  10:05 AM ET, 05/24/2011

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