Panel: Japan utility misinformed, blocked probe at crippled nuke plant but no cover-up attempt

An independent panel says the operator of Japan's tsunami-crippled nuclear plant misinformed investigators and blocked inspection of key equipment last year, but that there was no cover-up attempt.

The case involves a parliamentary probe of equipment at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant's Unit 1 reactor. A member of the investigative team said investigators had to scrap an inspection of the reactor's emergency cooling equipment, accusing plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. of falsely saying the building was dark and dangerous.

After the incident caused an outcry from lawmakers and the public, TEPCO commissioned a panel to look into the matter.

On Wednesday, the panel attributed the problem to a TEPCO official's misunderstanding of the situation at Unit 1, and said TEPCO wasn't trying to hide the equipment from the inspectors.