It is just unbelievable.
Tokyo Shinbun reports that an unnamed official in the Fukushima prefectural government deleted emails that were received between March 11 and March 15, 2011 which contained SPEEDI simulations.
Why? Because, as this official claims,
He didn't notice there were such emails;
The emails were taking up too much space in the computer.
The excuses may have been somewhat believable in the early 1990s. I guess it is possible that the Fukushima prefectural government is still using Windows 3.1 on a stand-alone PC, dial-up internet connection, and a hard disk with a few megabyte storage.
If not, it is amazing the official got away with what he said.
From Tokyo Shinbun (3/21/2012):
Fukushima Prefecture deleted the dispersion simulation data it received from the day of the accident for 5 days
The Fukushima prefectural government had the dispersion simulation data of radioactive materials from the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident from the evening of March 11, 2011 in emails, but lost the data up to the morning of March 15, 2011, our reporter has uncovered by speaking with the people involved. There were explosions at Reactors 1, 3 and 4 during those 5 days, but the prefectural government hasn't shown the simulation data to the municipalities around the plant. The person in charge at the prefectural government says, "The data took up too much space so I deleted it."
The Nuclear Safety Technology Center in Tokyo is commissioned by the Ministry of Education and Science to operate the SPEEDI system which predicts the dispersion of radioactive materials. According to the Center, upon being instructed by the Ministry of Education, it started the simulation on the day of the disaster at 4:40PM on March 11, 2011 with the assumption that radioactive iodine was being released at 1 becquerel per hour rate from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. The Center sent the simulation data every hour to the Ministry of Education and Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
The data was to be sent to the Off-Site Center in Okuma-machi in Fukushima and to the Fukushima prefectural government, but the dedicated lines were destroyed in the earthquake/tsunami and the Center couldn't send the data.
However, they found out they could send the data via email. Late that night on March 11, 2011, upon request from the Environmental Radioactivity Monitoring Center of Fukushima located next to the Off-Site Center, the Nuclear Safety Technology Center sent the graphic images of the dispersion simulation. The Center started sending the data to the Disaster Response Headquarters of Fukushima Prefecture in the middle of night on March 12, and kept sending them hourly updates.
However, the person in charge at the Fukushima prefectural government says he didn't notice the emails until the morning of March 15, 2011, and that he deleted the emails.
The Fukushima prefectural government decided "the simulation is of no use", and never publish the data sent nor notified the municipalities.
Separately, the prefectural government received the dispersion simulation by fax from the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency at about 10:30AM on March 13, 2011. Since the data was from March 12 to the early morning of March 13, the prefectural government did not publish the data as "past data and not accurate".
The official in charge explained, "The data was for the 20-kilometer radius, and the residents inside the radius had already evacuated. The data should have been published by the national government. But as the result [of our withholding the data] the residents were exposed to radiation, and that is true. We should have let them know sooner."
In addition to the SPEEDI simulation from the Ministry of Education, Fukushima Prefecture also had in their possession the simulation from the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, and the simulation from TEPCO via fax. The prefectural government of Fukushima chose to sit on all of them, and started complaining about lack of information out loud.
It is equally unbelievable that the official in charge continues to work in the Fukushima prefectural government, instead of being thrown in jail.
Well I keep forgetting that Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has preemptively exonerated anyone from any blame or responsibility when it comes to the Fukushima nuclear accident.
It's hard for me to believe that Fukushima Prefecture didn't know about the emails that contained SPEEDI data. Tellurium-132 was detected in Namie-machi, Okuma-machi, and Minami Soma City from early morning till early afternoon of March 12, 2011, well before TEPCO attempted the vent and Reactor 1 had an explosion (Asahi Shinbun, 6/3/2011). The entity that measured tellurium, I think, was Fukushima Prefecture. If they were in the dark as they claim, what were they doing in the early morning of March 11, 2011, collecting dusts to test for radioactive materials?