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TEPCO official says Fukushima plant situation 'out of control'

A senior official of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, said Friday that situation in the stricken plant was "out of control," according to local media.

The remark was made by Kazuhiko Yamashita, who holds the executive-level title of fellow, at a meeting with Japanese opposition lawmakers in the city of Koriyama in Fukushima prefecture, said Japan's Kyodo News.

His words came less than a week after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assured the world at a meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at Argentina that the situation in the damaged nuclear plant is "under control."

The IOC last week ruled out Madrid and Istanbul and chose Tokyo as the host of the 2020 Summer Games, despite the ongoing highly contaminated water leaks at the plant, which was fatally damaged in a quake-triggered tsunami in March 2011.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga reiterated Friday that impacts of the toxic water leakage remain "inside the plant's port" that was enclosed by breakwaters, Kyodo quoted the top government spokesman as saying.

Suga also said the remarks by Yamashita were made under "grill" by the opposition lawmakers during their meeting, according to Kyodo.

The TEPCO recently admitted that highly toxic water leaked from the plant and into the adjacent Pacific Ocean at a rate of around 300 tons per day from makeshift storage tanks on the site.

Furthermore, it said this week that there are possibly two leaks in tanks storing highly-radioactive water at the facility, with the second leak causing radiation levels to spike from 650 becquerels per liter found near the first leak, to 3,200 becquerels per liter of radioactive substances detected at a trench near the second leak.
 

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