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Fukushima Report Released

by Jonathan Hankins [1], 13 July 2012

Last year as the Fukushima disaster was unfolding I wrote an article entitled Reports of a Fukushima Cover Up Abound [2], and I would like to follow up on this article by taking a look at The Official Report of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Committee.

The report comes at a rather difficult and controversial time, as the first nuclear plant goes online after the total closure following the Fukushima incident.

Published by the National Diet of Japan, the Executive Summary of the report is available for download here [3], a concise document that raises a lot of extremely serious issues about nuclear safety in Japan, the influence of politics in its development and control and the problem of poor and ineffective regulation.

The Chairman's summary that opens the report is indicative of its findings and the section that best sums up the report is the following:

'...the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant cannot be regarded as a natural disaster. It was a profoundly man-made disaster - that could and should have been foreseen and prevented. And its effects could have been mitigated by a more effective human response. '


As you might imagine the report is extremely damming. Several of the buildings and structures that are necessary for safely operating the plant were not built to any kind of seismic standards. The back up electricity supply did not work due to miss-matched sockets, and manuals were missing or damaged so that operators did not have a full set of plans for the water supply system required to cool the reactors.

The report finds evidence of collusion between regulation agencies and TEPCO the plant operators and negative attitudes to the importation of new technologies from overseas. It also accuses the nuclear regulation authorities of deliberately sidestepping internationally agreed safety measures and states that "the accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO".

They also conclude that TEPCO was quick to blame the Tsunami for the disaster, and negate problems caused by the earthquake, thus self mitigation any responsibility they might hold for being unprepared after years of warnings.

The report makes many conclusions and argues the need for a complete overhaul of regulation and operating practices. A system of independent investigation committees must be developed, laws related to nuclear energy reformed, a new regulating body formed to monitor the operators, and the government must take responsibility for public health and welfare, something that it failed to do. Anything less would not be acceptable.

A sobering read, the summary of findings is just 20 pages long and well worth the time it requires. The entire event is an example of lack of responsibility and governance of an incredibly important situation, and as such I feel should be of great interest to Bassetti Foundation readers.

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(Photo: Fukushima live cam by TEPCO: workers hanging their heads? [4] by antjeverena from Flickr - snapshot from LiveCam by Tepco [5])

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Links in this document:

  1. 1] /schedabiografica/Jonathan Hankins
  2. 2] /it/segnalazioni/2011/03/reports_of_a_fukushima_cover_u.html
  3. 3] http://naiic.go.jp/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/NAIIC_report_lo_res.pdf
  4. 4] http://www.flickr.com/photos/antjeverena/5983071002/
  5. 5] www.tepco.co.jp/nu/f1-np/camera/index-j.html
CC Creative Commons - some rights reserved.
cc - by antjeverena from Flickr
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