Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Earthquake the probable cause of Fukushima nuclear disaster: new concerns about other Japanese reactors

The 641-page report criticized Tepco as being too quick to dismiss earthquake damage as a cause of the fuel meltdowns at three of the plant’s six reactors, which overheated when the site lost power.

Inquiry Declares Fukushima Crisis a Man-Made Disaster, NYT, By HIROKO TABUCHI, July 5, 2012 TOKYO — The nuclear accident at Fukushima was a preventable disaster rooted in government-industry collusion and the worst conformist conventions of Japanese culture, a parliamentary inquiry concluded Thursday. Kyodo News, via Associated Press
The report, released by the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, challenged some of the main story lines that the government and the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant have put forward. Most notably, the report said the plant’s crucial cooling systems might have been damaged in the earthquake on
March 11, 2011, not only in the ensuing tsunami.

That possibility raises doubts about the safety of all the quake-prone country’s nuclear plants just as they begin to restart after a pause ordered in the wake of the Fukushima crisis……
The 641-page report criticized Tepco as being too quick to dismiss earthquake damage as a cause of the fuel meltdowns at three of the plant’s six reactors, which overheated when the site lost power. Tepco
has contended that the plant withstood the earthquake that rocked
eastern Japan, instead placing blame for the disaster on what some
experts have called a “once in a millennium” tsunami that followed.
Such a rare calamity was beyond the scope of contingency planning,
Tepco executives have suggested, and was unlikely to pose a threat to
Japan’s other nuclear reactors in the foreseeable future.

The parliamentary report, based on more than 900 hours of hearings and
interviews with 1,167 people, suggests that Reactor No. 1, in
particular, might have suffered earthquake damage, including the
possibility that pipes burst from the shaking, leading to a loss of
coolant even before the tsunami hit the plant about 30 minutes after
the initial earthquake. It emphasized that a full assessment would
require better access to the inner workings of the reactors, which may
not be possible for years.
“However,” the report said, “it is impossible to limit the direct
cause of the accident to the tsunami without substantive evidence. The
commission believes that this is an attempt to avoid responsibility by
putting all the blame on the unexpected (the tsunami),” the report
continued, adding, “and not on the more foreseeable quake.”…..
The commission also accused the government, Tepco and nuclear
regulators of failing to carry out basic safety measures despite being
aware of the risks posed by earthquakes, tsunamis and other events
that might cut off power systems. …..
The report placed blame for the tepid response on collusion between
the company, the government and regulators, saying they had all
“betrayed the nation’s right to safety from nuclear accidents.” Tepco
“manipulated its cozy relationship with regulators to take the teeth
out of regulations,” the report said.

The report reserved its most damning language for its criticism of a
culture in Japan that suppresses dissent and outside opinion, which
might have prompted changes to the country’s lax nuclear
controls…….
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/06/world/asia/fukushima-nuclear-crisis-a-man-made-disaster-report-says.html?pagewanted=all

July 6, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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