Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Haruki Madarame: "No Memory of First Week of the Accident Because I Couldn't Sleep"

The NISA's head in the early days of the accident says he didn't advise the PM because he was a liberal arts major.

The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC) set up by the Japan's Diet is eliciting some interesting reactions (or excuses I should say) from the officials in charge of Japan's nuclear policies who also oversaw the initial government response to the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident.

The Commission held its fourth hearing on February 15, 2012 which was net-cast live (archived here, if you understand Japanese). The following is from what's been reported in the media about the hearing, as tweeted by the Commission (@jikocho):

From Sankei Shinbun (2/15/2012):


About the advice to the Prime Minister and other activities during the early days of the accident, Mr. Madarame said, "I didn't sleep for more than a week, and I hardly remember anything. There were only two landlines where I was, and there was no cellphone signal. What advice I could give was limited."


Mr. Terasaka [who was the head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency then] said, "I am a liberal arts major. So I delegated the dealings with the Prime Minister's Residence to my subordinate who was a science major."


As to the safety guidelines for nuclear power plant to prepare for the tsunami and station blackout, Mr. Madarame apologized by saying "I have to admit there were flaws. I would like to apologize." As to why the guidelines weren't improved, Madarame said, "Low safety standards are proposed by the plant operators, and the regulatory agencies simply rubber-stamp them. With the approval from the national government, they are considered safe, and there is no incentive for the operators to improve safety. It is a vicious cycle." He also said, "The system in this country is set up so that people spend much time in making up excuses for not doing anything, and decision-making is not done against opposition."

He speaks the truth on that point.


netudiant said...

I am not sure that a much better result could be anticipated from any of the governments around the world.
The recent example of China rushing to bury the wrecked train carriages after their disaster, before they had even been properly searched for survivors is a representative example.
Governments want to disappear problems, by whatever seems the easiest way. Solutions are not easily reconciled with that imperative.

Chibaguy said...

Yes, that is the system in Japan now and no one wants to take accountability. However, the government will scream bloody murder if one was to submit something without the right punctuation.

Anonymous said...

That just leaves a really bad impression of incompetence ("I am a liberal arts major")for the head of a highly technical scientific agency.

At least he was honest.


Karen Sherry Brackett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen Sherry Brackett said...

You know what actually, Mickey Mouse would have done a better job!

Karen Sherry Brackett said...

The fault in his statement is his own lack of accepting any personal responsibility for his own job. He states: "Low safety standards are proposed by the plant operators, and the regulatory agencies simply rubber-stamp them."

First: While a plant operator certainly should suggest a safety procedure where they may see one needed, it is not the function of a operator to have to tell an engineer how to do their job. It is the job of the plant operator to follow the directions of the engineers.

Second: It is the job of engineers to design safety procedures.

Third: It is the job of Managers to impliment them.

Fourth: It is the job of upper management to budget for them and provide suggestions of improvement upon them. There is no way a liberal arts major is in any way shape or form qualified for to be the head of a nuclear and industrial safety agency. This position is for the most talented engineers at the top of their field and their career.

BTW, I use small caps for this agency on purpose because it does not deserve upper caps accordingly. Shame on anyone who accepts a position they know they are not qualified for!

"So I delegated the dealings with the Prime Minister's Residence to my subordinate who was a science major." So, had his subordinate actually graduated? "Science major" is very vague. One has to ask what area of science is so shameful he does not even identify it? Please, tell me they were not a massage therapist?

"the regulatory agencies simply rubber-stamp them" Are you kidding me? So, he thought the job of his agency was just to rumber stamp anything that crossed their desk? Without any verifying it? Safety Agencies are the safety net for double checks to the double check. If something fails on the plant level it is because it failed at the safety double check first. Those engineers are to be kept seperate from plant engineers so that personal friendships do not get in the way of the integrity of the job. It sounds to me like the only people doing their jobs were the plant operators and engineers. Everyone above them were obiviously just lazily resting on their laurels of past achievement and not doing the work they were paid for and entrusted with.

Anonymous said...

Karen Brackett we know you are a Nuke Shill now please bugger off..

Anonymous said...

2010 quotes coming from Brackett during her subsequently failed election campaign.

"The thing that concerns me most is global warming, and I have a sense that we here in Tennessee, most appropriately named the volunteer state,... are going to be the anchor for the nation in a time to come... and we need to be preparing and gearing up for it.

"We are going to need to build reactors and reinforce our power grids....

"Tennessee has the nuclear ability to power the nation, and we need to be building the reactors to do so...."

Anonymous said...

This Brackett person suddenly barged in and is posting too many ignorant and arrogant posts.

Hmmm. My guess is:
1. Someone impersonating her to discredit her; or
2. She's real and she's running for office again and practicing her silly speech here by writing lengthy useless dribble; or
3. Whoever this is is trying to discredit the blog by inserting the code words that will be picked up by the snooping agency and mark the site.

In any of the cases, site admin should block this person and report her as spammer.

Anonymous said...

>It sounds to me like the only people doing their jobs were the plant operators and engineers.

Clearly, you haven't been reading this blog. LOL. Please please please please go away.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@netudiant, they could have not lied, for one. They could have said in the first and 2nd week after the accident:

- We do not know how bad it is yet, but as an ample precaution please do not go outside on March 14, 15, 16.
- People in Fukushima Prefecture in particular, do not eat vegetables from your garden and do not drink from your well.

They knew it was dangerous on those days, but they told the Japanese people it was totally safe to be outside. They told the villagers in Iitate they could eat anything they grew, and drink water from their well, and their children could play freely outdoors.

Anonymous said...

Please leave this place. Your acuteness are no match for us. You need to be with some of your own kind like on the Physics Forums. I promise they will give you the banning, I mean, the attention you deserve.

(Like the Finnish troll, this seems to be turning out to be another case of a noxious floater not wanting to go down the toilet.)

Anonymous said...

"Safety Agencies are the safety net for double checks to the double check. If something fails on the plant level it is because it failed at the safety double check first."

ROFL. Cluelessness at it's best on Karen's part. Did, or does such a thing as a nuclear safety agency even exist.

Do everyone a favour and disappear. How many times are posters here going to have to tell you before you make us really mad. Go back to watching free neutron beams.

mary m said...

I suggest Ms. Brackett go this place if she can pass the math test they make you take before becoming a member. The posters would benefit greatly from her nuke wisdom and they are a friendly bunch, not at all like us. Here is the link, dear.

Anonymous said...

Zero Hedge has a tough crowd. I suggest she go to a far easier site like Huffinton Post for her re-election campaign. I recommend Fukushima Diary if she insists on anything that has the name Fukushima on it.

Anonymous said...

Just like Bush's "Brownie" FEMA guy who got the job because he knew someone and not because he had any idea how to perform the function of his job. I'm guessing this guy got into this position because he knew someone or was the son of some family.

I have to say I am impressed with such honesty but why now?

Rubber stamp everything. Robosign anything just because.

After all, this is all about money. All of these nukes are offline and Japan is doing just fine? Right? Why would anyone bother to have capable, appropriate and competent people in charge at any level when the only goal is easy money? Here are some energy usage numbers recently talked about yet the US is going to build new nuclear plants even though the demand does not support any such need or requirement.

In the face of Fukushima and so many more people realizing nuclear isn't good for anyone except the profit takers, new nuke plants are being built in Georgia USA and there are no protests.

I have little hope for this world. Who ever has the most money wins elections and these huge money machines fund the elections so we are all DOOMED.

Karen Sherry Brackett said...

The reason I posted on this site to begin with is because there were statements that the United States was somehow being complacent with the Japanese in cover ups and lies and had also done nothing to help. All of which was completely wrong. Now here was an American once again attempting to help and the help was thrown away. So, only blame yourselves from this day forward when you find yourselves in the dark. BTW, as I stated on the other post here that quote is not complete. I recommended promoting every form of energy because we are going to need it. I also advised that the future of nuclear fuel is in blended fuels and just for the record that does not mean MOX. As for me being pro-nuclear, yes in fact I am. As for me being an environmentalist, yes in fact I am. You can and should be both. Also, for the record, just because you Google someone does not mean you know a darn thing about them. You might find one glimpse but that is not the sum total of who they are. As for passing a math test LOL... I think I'll pass. I appreciate the invitation but it's a little immature to only require a math test to discuss nuclear energy if you are really trying to weed out. Being a genius at math or physics or both does not qualify anyone to be a nuclear engineer. Those are baby steps which have the smallest fraction of knowledge required to understand the mediums of criticality configurations only and not any knowledge at all on the actual construct. Once again, I say farewell to the unamious anonymous critiques. And pay my deepest respects and appreciation to this blogger. You have done are doing a excellent job!

Anonymous said...

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!

darwin48 said...

"As for passing a math test LOL... I think I'll pass."

Good think it isn't a spelling test.

Anonymous said...

Now here was an American once again attempting to help and the help was thrown away. So, only blame yourselves from this day forward when you find yourselves in the dark.

Who the fuck are you writing to?

Anonymous said...

Finally! She's going to shut up! [Swoosh}(sound of toilet successfully flushing)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I wrote a large reply but I think I'll just write a few points instead.

- Same thing would have happened everywhere. Same thing happened at Chernobyl.

- I get the impression that governments often appoint unqualified people (their friends, I'd wager) to high positions in emergency management. As someone stated, FEMA during Katrina comes to mind.

- I'm sure there are non-Japanese with pro-nuclear interests who don't want to see their profits hurting from Fukushima and are attempting to cover things up. That doesn't mean that other people from those countries didn't try to help. Don't confuse the two statements. Yes, we know that Japan turned down help from other countries, but you shouldn't generalise and blame the entire country. Can you imagine each desperate individual Japanese victim of the earthquake, tsunami and radiation denying help?

- People always point the finger at others, and usually only at one factor. It's never that simple. There are always many factors involved.

- I don't think you can be pro-nuclear and pro-environmental, because there is nothing pro-environmental about making large amounts of the planet uninhabitable for billions of years. There must be another alternative.

- If I had to choose between having more power and poisoning everything for millenia, I would choose the latter. This is obviously the pro-environmental choice.

- As I've said before, nuclear power hasn't even existed for a single century, and already we've had two serious meltdowns and several minor leaks. There's also the matter of nuclear waste. Do you seriously believe that humans are capable of reliably maintining this technology for a long period of time? You can't just dump shit in the ocean and hope it never comes back. The ocean is not a portal to another dimension.

- We don't NEED every form of energy, especially not nuclear power. Humans lived for thousands of years before we began to harness electricity (again, barely a century ago). If you were born 100 years ago, do you think you'd NEED nuclear power?

- I'm not saying we should regress to the stone age, I'm saying that we're getting to a point where there's a lot of unnecessary shit going on that isn't worth the price to pay. If you want to poison yourself for millions of years, go do it in your own house and leave the rest of us alone.

Anonymous said...

rats, scurrying as rats do. god I hate bureaucracies

Darth3/11 said...

Karen Brackett: clearly a science fiction writer. Buzz off or learn something. Your choice.

Anonymous said...

Government at all levels is stuffed with people who are not capable. Just look around at the majority of people who work in economic development.

There is nothing environmentally sound about current nuclear power. While I am not pro-nuclear I do believe that much smaller scale reactors from the beginning were the way to go.

It is hard to forgive any of these operators, regulatory bodies and governments for not having implemented a solution to the nuclear waste storage/disposal issue. I know someone is going to cut my ass about the term disposal I just used. I believe every college student taking chemistry 101 knows how a nuclear power plant works and the problem of the waste. I remember very well how my chemistry teacher spent a lot of time discussing the waste and the expense of storing the waste and how dealing with the waste was simply theory because it has never been done before. Teacher was one of the smartest people I have ever known and he knew 20 years ago that the industry would simply continue kicking the nuclear waste can down the road until it was no longer possible. Now Fukushima and the rest of the world has hundreds of years to continue thinking about it.

Going back to my earlier post above. It is all about money.

Equally as miserable is the practice by governments around the world to ignore the laws on the books. At every level of the judicial process the laws are abused, ignored, overlooked, twisted and bent according to what the end result is supposed to look like.

Anyways, all of us little tax payers have to get out of the way of the monster corporations and their government enablers and live with what the powers dish out to us including all of the mistakes they make along the way.

This is not going to end well and it won't be pretty.

netudiant said...

I do not think that the intemperate claims of 'anonymous' are helpful.
It is easy to rant and accuse anyone of being a 'nuclear shill' from the comfort of a warm and well lit home, with food in the freezer and a good telecom link giving access to the world.
That omits the reality that this status relies on plentiful power, which we mostly get from coal, plus gas, hydro, nuclear and a smidge of biofuels. Coal is at least as dangerous as nuclear, spewing mercury emissions worldwide.
Gas is a gift of grace, such a splendid raw material that future generations will abominate our wanton waste to have used it for boiler fuel.
Hydro is limited and has its own issues, as China has discovered with the Three Gorges project.

So what is the alternative? Wind and solar are not cutting the mustard, as seen by their performance, or rather lack thereof, during this winter in Europe.
I don't see anything but nuclear, despite this disaster, that can provide the energy we need.
That said, it will not happen with the kind of management and ownership structures that have proven deficient in this case. That is why the impulse to forget about this disaster must be fought vigorously, because it prevents any learning or essential improvements from taking place.

Anonymous said...

Wind, solar and tidal are not cutting the mustard only because nuclear power is still in control. GE has a solar division with new technology ready to go but why do that when nuclear is still making money? Why would they shoot themselves in the foot? Once nuclear is really dead and has no more hope of a renaissance, just watch all these former nuke companies switch and extoll the virtues of wind, solar, tidal, geothermal..

Really netudiant, I'm surprised you still believe some of this nuclear BS. You are still asking a question like "So what is the alternative"?? Also, be careful you don't make the same stupid mistake the recent nuke shill did of lumping all anonymous posters together. I am not the same poster as 4:34.

Anonymous said...

Interesting how Japan is doing quite okay on natural gas at the moment and is using gas turbines GE was barely able to sell to places that could not afford nuclear technology(thanks for the info Ivan). Not even any more rolling blackouts in Japan, I'm told. The "what is the alternative" line is getting as old as radioactive bananas and "nobody has died of radiation yet".

(yet another anonymous)

Anonymous said...

Bannanas. Or was it banannas?

Karen Sherry Brackett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Or was it bannannas? And be sure to heed the former nuke fuel operator's suggestion about limiting your amount of ingested fresh cantaloupe and oranges too. Also dried fruit like apricots, peaches, raisins, prunes, figs dates, cranberries, apples. Oh yeah and brazil nuts. All contaminated with radioactive potassium K-40. Deadly, I tell you. Chimps barely make it to adulthood alive when it's a good year for bannannas.!

(the incomparable anon)

Anonymous said...

Damn it! The toilet just backed up!

Anonymous said...

Oh, sorry, false alarm, it went down again. [Swoosh}

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