27 DEC 2011
JAPANESE COUNTERPART TO USA-NRC BLAMED FOR FUKUSHIMA TRAGEDY. NISA has been heaped with vitriol for their part in the Fukushima Dai No.1 Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) tragedy of 12 Mar 2011. The Chief Independent Investigator, Engineering Professor Yotaro Hatamura, Ph.D – Emeritus, leveled some of his strongest criticism against Japan’s “Nuclear Industrial and Safety Agency ( NISA)”. Prof. Hatamura’s full report is expected in the summer of 2012, when it will include interviews with former Prime Minister Naoto Kan and other Cabinet officials. Those interviews weren’t completed for the interim report due to time constraints. DO YOU REALLY THINK SO ?- I DON’T.
PROF. HATAMURA’S SIX MONTH INVESTIGATION REPORT BY A 10 MEMBER TEAM OF EXPERTS was published in a scathing 507 page report on 26 Dec 2011, and includes many damning accusations principally involving governmental cover-up, inactions, lack of foresight, and of “planning for the worst” by both NISA Staff, and the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). Prof. Hatamura, specializes in studies of industrial accidents caused by “design flaws and human error”, includes a slew of planning failures, breakdown in communication and operational mistakes by TEPCO NISA Staff, even before, and after the earthquake and tsunami. Prof. Hatamura was appointed by the government in May 2011 to lead an “impartial and multifaceted” investigation into the nuclear accident. He began studying “Human Error” after finding his students were more interested in how projects can go wrong, according to the publisher of his book “Learning from Failure.”
LONG LIST OF “SAY-WHAT?!!!” ACTIONS / INACTIONS FOLLOWS:
NISA officials left the Fukushima Dai-No.1 NPP site right after the 11 Mar 2011 earthquake/ tsunami, and when they were ordered to return by the government, provided little assistance to TEPCO Staff struggling to gain control of three(3) melting reactors. One might compare that to “desertion in the face of the enemy” at a time when monitoring the NPP’s status was vital; yet, The Investigation Committee found “no evidence that the NISA officials provided necessary assistance or advice.” Plainly put: NISA OFFICIALS BUGGED-OUT! – Even though NISA’s manual said to stay at the NPP, their manager gave the officials (No names given to protect the guilty) permission to evacuate.
TOTAL LOSS OF ELECTRICAL POWER AND EVEN PHONES. While TEPCO supplied the electricity that kept homes, factories and offices running in metropolitan Tokyo (the world’s biggest city), lack of preparation for power failure in the Fukushima NPP left workers reduced to flashlights at the 864-acre site. Even batteries in cell phones at the Fukushima NPP started running out the first day, and there was no power available even to recharge them, thus preventing communication with the “on-site emergency headquarters”. TEPCO hadn’t considered a tsunami overwhelming the Fukushima NPP; so, no preparation was made for “simultaneous and multiple losses of power” causing station blackout and the failure of all personal handy-phone system units in the NPP, seriously disrupting communications among staff.
CRITICAL COMMUNICATION FAILURES. Communications became so balky that NPP manager Masao Yoshida, stationed in the emergency bunker, didn’t know what some workers were doing. The high pressure coolant injection system at the No. 3 reactor was stopped by a worker without authority from NPP managers, according to the report. The reactor was one of the three(3) that melted down. Meanwhile, in Tokyo, the Central Government’s response was muddled by miscommunication between two(2) teams working on different floors of the same building.
TEPCO SAYS HOTLINES DID WORK So said Spokesman Masato Yamaguchi on 26 Dec 2011. Between the central control room and the reactor buildings worked following the quake, while workers outside the buildings could use a total of nine(9) transceivers, . The company added 29 transceivers on March 13 and 80 more on 15 Mar (day four).
CENTRAL GOVERNMENT FAILED TO USE ITS RADIATION SPREAD MONITORING SYSTEM. That failure in calculating evacuation areas, may yet cost many truncated lives. While the monitoring tool lacked sufficient data for an accurate assessment because of communication failures, its predictive functions should have been used; Worse yet, the CENTRAL GOVERNMENT WITH-HELD INFORMATION FROM THE PUBLIC. The report states: “Information on urgent matters was delayed, press releases were withheld, and explanations were kept (intentionally) ambiguous,”
NISA FAILED TO FOLLOW ITS OWN “ON-SITE DUTIES” The report says the agency’s manual called for inspectors to remain at Dai No.1 in an emergency, while other officials head to the offsite emergency command office 5 kilometers (3 miles) away in Okuma town. However, by 14 March 2011, all eight(8) NISA officials (not identified) in the report, had left Dai No.1. Hiroyuki Fukano, current Director-general of NISA said: “The inspectors were in charge of gathering live information on the site…It’s a serious problem that they didn’t do their job, though it’s a matter of NISA’s system, rather than individual inspectors” (see there, “no one is to blame”). Mr. Fukano was appointed after the former head Nobuaki Terasaka was fired in Aug. 2011. Only last Apr. 2011, Mr. Kazuma Yokota, NISA’s chief inspector at Dai No.1 at the time of the quake, said that he was one of three(3) inspectors who left the NPP 15 minutes after the temblor for Okuma. The three(3) reached the center in 15 minutes and found it wrecked, power down, and no working communications.
EVEN ” BEST LAID OF PLANS” ARE NO GOOD IF… Prof. Hatamura told reporters on 26 Dec 2011: “People are often unaware of the functions of the organizations they belong to…If you don’t understand that function, you can’t live up to the expectations that people put on your organization. This is basically what happened at NISA after the accident.” Prof. Hatamura committee interviewed 456 people over a total of 900 hours of hearings by 16 Dec. When Prof. Hatamura took the job of heading the independent investigation into the Fukushima tragedy, he said he was looking for lessons rather than culprits. He doesn’t sound that way now!
TEPCO: “NO COMMENT” Jun Oshima, a spokesman for TEPCO, declined to comment on the report as the utility is checking the contents.
Thanks to Bloomberg, Tokyo 27 Dec 2011.
There will always be enough blame to “go-around” regarding a tragedy, and the complete, and real truth will never be revealed in the interest of “protecting the guilty”- specially high level governmental figures. There will always be those who say: “Stuff happens”, but does it have to be on my turf? That kind of thinking is worrisome because it permeates organizations that have a “Public Trust” investiture such as the NRC; Yet, we know that our NRC is “Hog-tied, and impotent”. It is very disquieting to think that there is an NRC equivalent in every “nuclear country”, and most of them are corrupt and answerable to the Nuclear Cartels. The world needs profound change to attack graft and corruption in high government circles.
Preventing any more NPPs from being built is one way to weaken The Nuclear Cartel by reducing their huge “Money Power”. It could spare our world from so much graft, corruption and “ transnucleide poisons”. There is work to do!
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!