Tuesday, April 10, 2012

American Nuclear Society Report on Fukushima: "Human Error, Flaws in Governance and Oversight Contributed to the Severity of the Accident"

From the website of American Nuclear Society:

The American Nuclear Society Special Committee on Fukushima

On Friday, March 11, 2011, one of the largest earthquakes in the recorded history of the world occurred on the east coast of northern Japan. This earthquake also generated a major tsunami, causing nearly 20,000 deaths. Electricity, gas and water supplies, telecommunications, and railway service were all severely disrupted and in many cases completely shut down. These disruptions severely affected the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, causing a loss of all on-site and off-site power and a release of radioactive materials from the reactors.

The leadership of the American Nuclear Society commissioned the American Nuclear Society Special Committee on Fukushima to provide a clear and concise explanation of what happened during the Fukushima Daiichi accident, and offer recommendations based on lessons learned from their study of the event. The American Nuclear Society, a professional organization of 11,600 nuclear science and technology professionals, has a strong tradition of advancing nuclear safety, and the Special Committee on Fukushima was organized to further its members' interests in this important professional obligation.

The release of this report is the culmination of a nearly year-long effort by Special Committee members to analyze a range of factors related to what happened at the Fukushima Daiichi facility. The report was officially released at a press conference held on March 8 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. ANS Executive Director Robert Fine made opening remarks and introductions. Drs. Dale Klein and Mike Corradini, the Special Committee co-chairs, lead the discussion of the report and the Q&A session. Special Committee members Paul Dickman -- who also served as study director -- and Jacopo Buongiorno, lead for regulatory issues, also appeared on the discussion panel. The press conference is available via webcast at the following link: Press Conference Webcast

Here's the report: http://fukushima.ans.org/report/Fukushima_report.pdf
From the Executive Summary:

The Committee found that no aspect of the Fukushima Daiichi accident indicates a priori that the level of safety of nuclear power plants (NPPs) in the United States is unacceptable. Indeed, the Committee agrees with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that the current level of safety provides adequate protection to the health and safety of the U.S. public. However, the Committee believes that elements of the accident that relate to observed vulnerabilities in the ability of NPPs to respond to such an extreme natural event must be examined with care. As importantly, the Committee believes that in responding to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi NPS, human error and flaws in governance and regulatory oversight contributed to the severity of the accident. These errors and human factors must be understood and addressed before substantively modifying technology.

Exactly. And they are exactly what the Japanese government is trying its best to ignore in deciding to re-start nuclear power plants in Japan.

In comparison, Japan's Atomic Energy Society was finally persuaded by the members who attended the annual spring conference in March this year to compile its report on the accident by June.

30 comments:

steve the jew said...

"These errors and human factors must be understood and addressed before substantively modifying technology."

lmao... the "errors and human factors" were well understood long before this pathological garbage was ever built.

Anonymous said...

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@Laprimavera,

NEWS FLASH: It's official, Mainichi Daily News, the English news site of Mainichi Newspapers, has merged with the Japanese news site as of April 5, 2012. Moreover, it appears that ALL of Mainichi Daily's English language articles (including its stories on Fukushima throughout the past year) have ceased to be available as of that date.

As I indicated to you on a previous thread: until a few days ago, all of Mainichi Daily News stories on Fukushima (both very old and very new) were still readily accessible. But now, none of the URLs work; and the stories don't show up when they are searched internally by title on the website. Likewise, none of the existing links to Mainichi's English-language stories are working on numerous Fukushima blogs that I read. I assume, the links are also inoperable for every other news entity that has linked to Mainichi Daily News stories.

CASE IN POINT: The column you are quoting from, by Taka Yamada, was carried in English by Mainichi Daily News on April 2, 2012, with the title: "In light of further nuclear risks, economic growth should not be priority". [LINK: http://mdn.mainichi.jp/perspectives/news/20120402p2a00m0na002000c.html]

It was widely disseminated and widely discussed; especially within the context of a renewed sense of urgency about the special hazards posed by Reactor No. 4 and the spent fuel pools. However, the article ceased to be available at Mainichi Daily News on April 5, 2012. It is currently only available in abridged, incomplete, versions from third-party sources, such as the ones you just used.

Indeed, as you said: "It's harder and harder to get the real information, not easier, after more than 1 year since the accident started". Mainichi Daily News just made it a whole lot harder -- for everybody.

Here is the announcement that's currently posted at Mainichi Daily News regarding the changes -- aka, the crack-down on the free-flow of information. [LINK: http://mainichi.jp/english/english/etc/announce.html]

..."MAINICHI DAILY NEWS MERGES INTO NEW SITE - The Mainichi Daily News, the English news site of the Mainichi Newspapers Co., has been reorganized into a new site as of April 5, 2012. The English site is now part of the Japanese news site, Mainichi.jp, and under the new name, The Mainichi," it aims to be a news site targeting not only readers around the world, including those in English-speaking regions, but also Japanese people learning English"...

QUESTION: Perhaps this merits a new designated blog post of its own?

Many Thanks, JP
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arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

"including those in English-speaking regions, but also Japanese people learning English"

LOLOLOL. Particularly when their English is often erroneous and with mistranslations.

Anonymous said...

--------------------------------------------------
@Laprimavera,

NEWS FLASH: It's official, Mainichi Daily News, the English news site of Mainichi Newspapers, has merged with the Japanese news site as of April 5, 2012. Moreover, it appears that ALL of Mainichi Daily's English language articles (including its stories on Fukushima throughout the past year) have ceased to be available as of that date.

This is a tremendous loss. As I indicated to you on a previous thread: until a few days ago, all of Mainichi Daily News stories on Fukushima (both very old and very new) were still readily accessible. But now, none of the URLs work; and the stories don't show up when they are searched internally by title on the website. Likewise, none of the existing links to Mainichi's English-language stories are working on numerous Fukushima blogs that I read. I assume, the links are also inoperable for every other news entity that has linked to Mainichi Daily News stories.

CASE IN POINT: The column you are quoting from, by Taka Yamada, was carried in English by Mainichi Daily News on April 2, 2012, with the title: "In Light of Further Nuclear Risks, Economic Growth Should Not be Priority". [LINK: http://mdn.mainichi.jp/perspectives/news/20120402p2a00m0na002000c.html]

That article was widely disseminated and widely discussed; especially within the context of a renewed sense of urgency about the special hazards posed by Reactor No. 4 and the spent fuel pools. However, the article ceased to be available at Mainichi Daily News on April 5, 2012. It is currently only available in abridged, incomplete, versions from third-party sources, such as the ones you ended up using in your post.

Indeed, as you said: "It's harder and harder to get the real information, not easier, after more than 1 year since the accident started". Mainichi Daily News just made it a whole lot harder -- for everybody.

Here is the announcement that's currently posted at Mainichi Daily News regarding the changes -- aka, the crack-down on the free-flow of information. [LINK: http://mainichi.jp/english/english/etc/announce.html]

..."MAINICHI DAILY NEWS MERGES INTO NEW SITE - The Mainichi Daily News, the English news site of the Mainichi Newspapers Co., has been reorganized into a new site as of April 5, 2012. The English site is now part of the Japanese news site, Mainichi.jp, and under the new name, "The Mainichi," it aims to be a news site targeting not only readers around the world, including those in
English-speaking regions, but also Japanese people learning English"...

QUESTION: Perhaps this merits a new designated blog post of its own?

Many Thanks, JP
--------------------------------------------------

Anonymous said...

Hey Laprimavera,

Sorry for the inadvertent double post. Omit the latter one please. What is your take on this turn of events?

JP

Anonymous said...

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That report from the ANS was dated sometime around March 8, 2012, right? It was covered pretty extensively, state-side, by blogs and regular news media. Here's an article from Nature.com. It has working links for several reports in addition to the one from ANS:

~ Fukushima Reports Redux ~ 09 Mar 2012 |Posted by Geoffrey Brumfiel | http://blogs.nature.com/news/2012/03/fukushima-reports-redux.html

..."This week, think tanks and advocacy groups around the world have been producing reports on the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, which began almost exactly one year ago, on 11 March 2011. Here’s a round-up of what’s come out so far, and what they had to say:

1) Fukushima was preventable. James Acton and Mark Hibbs of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington DC conclude that Japanese regulators and the Tokyo Electric Power Company did not do enough to prepare for the 11 March tsunami. Computer modelling was inadequate, flood defences for emergency systems were weak and bureaucracy made nuclear professionals reluctant to take advice from outside experts.

2) The response to the nuclear accident was a mess. Yoichi Funabashi and Kay Kitazawa, a journalist and a city planner, respectively, write in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that a division of regulatory oversight, a myth of “absolute safety”, and cosy relationships between regulators and industry laid the groundwork for a sluggish and confused response. Japan’s political leaders were not properly informed as the crisis unfolded, and their resulting confusion slowed critical decisions such as when to flood the reactors with water. Abysmal crisis communication then sowed the seeds of mistrust in the general population.

3) Regulators must plan for rare events. The American Nuclear Society’s lengthy report contains many lessons for the US industry, but their top-line lesson from Fukushima is that rare events must be factored into safety planning. Japanese officials should have made sure the plant could withstand a one-in-a-thousand-year event like the Tohoku tsunami. The extensive report also suggests possible upgrades to American equipment and training for severe nuclear accidents. But it urges a slow approach to ensure that modifications are done properly to improve safety.

4) US regulators aren’t doing enough. The Union of Concerned Scientists has harsh words for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in its report. Although the NRC did respond quickly and effectively to public concerns as the Fukushima crisis unfolded, it has not sufficiently strengthened its oversight of nuclear safety and, specifically, the procedures for severe accidents at US plants. Instead, the US industry has implemented a voluntary safety-improvement programme that may not be sufficient to prevent a Fukushima-like meltdown.

Not everyone has produced a report. The World Nuclear Association, Greenpeace, the International Atomic Energy Agency and many others have issued statements. And the Natural Resources Defence Council has put together an online tool recreating a Fukushima-like accident at US nuclear power sites around the country.

Last but not least, TEPCO’s regular updates of conditions at the plant continue, as do the reports from the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum."

JP
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misitu said...

On April 10, 2012 at 8:06 PM Anonymous said...

I had a quick trawl round the site and came up with this


http://mainichi.jp/english/index.html

It's probably the best of what's left.

I'll bookmark but am not going to try to look at any links as they may or may not have been migrated and if not maybe there will be a plan to migrate them.. though my guess is, unlikely.

HTH. Maybe you already looked, if so, sorry

M

misitu said...

I think they have actually migrated the web subdirectory.

Just changing the top level directory so the link you quoted shows as
http://mainichi.jp/english/english/perspectives/news/20120402p2a00m0na002000c.html
takes you to an article with the same title. Looks OK. Cheers, HTH

Misitu

Anonymous said...

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@Misitu,

Thanks! That's GREAT work on your part. I know our blog host was looking for that same article earlier today (in English) at Mainichi Daily News and he was also drawing a blank.

BTW, I just replicated what you did: I changed the top level directory on another URL and I located another column I'd been looking for. However, the page isn't the same layout as the original; now it's just no-frills, bare-bones text without images, etc.

For the general public, it sucks that embedded links from external sources and the original URLs no longer go directly to the material in the Mainichi Daily News archive. Now it requires an involved search process that is not at all user-friendly, or self-evident.

Has there been any announcement in the Japanese-language Mainichi newspaper informing readers that the English-language edition was being merged with the Japanese? If so, what reason was given for the change?

Cheers, JP
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Anonymous said...

It took over a year... but they finally admitted the human errors and regulatory governance flaws caused the Fukushima accident.

Nonetheless, I think this report falls short and it might be another ploy for coverup. After all, the members of American Nuclear Society have their whole life career on the line now. They have to shift people's focus off the industry and nuclear power promoters by playing a good guy who points out the human error side of the story, not the nuclear power technology itself.

ENENEWS recently disclosed the accident reports that were faxed from Fukushima Daiichi plant to the government immediately upon the emergency. One of the fax reports was written by the Fuku plant manager Mr. Yoshida at 16:24 on March 11, 2011. It clearly said that the accident cause was "Earthquake", not tsunami or other things. Yoshida did NOT select "tsunami" from the cause options offered on the form report.

So the fact is that the earthquake broke the Fukushima Daiichi, not the tsunamis as the authorities want us to believe.

This means, the very design of the nuclear power plants is flawed. All of the nuclear power plants, not just the GE design, are susceptible to earthquake damages and whatever we are hit by Mother Nature.

Adding to this, the fact that it is impossible to create and maintain a system that is free from human errors (which American Nuclear Society now points as the problem) and that we have no technology to bring nuclear chain reactions to a complete stop safely and immediately in emergencies, it is now clear that nuclear power plants are not our future.

But admitting that much might put many members of the American Nuclear Society out of work. For the time being, they'd rather prefer people not notice the real cause of the accident (earthquake) and agree with their new report about human error in Japan.

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

Karen Sherry Brackettsaid...

The real problem with the nuclear industry is that physicists and mechanical engineers peacock around at the top of the food chain when they have no clue what they are doing chemically. While the real science is buried and shelved which is done by chemists. Nuclear energy is a chemical reaction period. What the world is doing now is like putting a plumber and a electrician in charge of a French Bakery and then we wonder why are crescents are always burnt and tasting poorly.

April 11, 2012 7:01 PM


Don't get me wrong the Baker can't bake without the expertise of the other two but it is the Baker who needs to be in charge of the kitchen so to speak.

Anonymous said...

I think the Bakery has weevils under the floor so it needs to be pulled down.

We should not build anymore Bakeries until we can control the weevils.

I try very hard not to eat bread that is made from flour from this Bakery.

But now they are spreading the weevil infested flour all over our earth.

There is no Baker that can fix this.

misitu said...

on April 11, 2012
at 7:01 PM
Karen Sherry Brackett said...

"Nuclear energy is a chemical reaction period."

Not exactly. Nuclear processes /include/ chemical processes, inasmuch as nuclear transmutation changes one element in a compound to another element, and the resulting changes in properties of one compound to another- or the dissociation of the compound due to elemental incompatibilities- also create physical effects.

However, nuclear decay, fission, fusion, etc., also comprise a range of /nuclear/ processes.

The forces mediating chemical reactions are /not/ the same as the forces mediating nuclear reactions.

If this is not understood then (a) a lot of the consequences are not understood, and (b) downstream statements will not find an audience.

Thanks for providing the opportunity for mental exercise.

M

Anonymous said...

Brackett, stop lying. Nuclear reaction is NOT chemical reaction. No wonder you were fired.

Anonymous said...

From the Bakery?

Karen Sherry Brackett said...

Chemistry is about ionizing and non-ionizing chemical reactions which do include half lives, fission and fusion and a whole lot more. Physics is glorified math and in the nuclear industry has to do with safe configuration and the generation of electricity resultant from the power generated by turning turbines from aka steam and hot air both of which are chemical forces which are driven by the chemical reactions resultant from water moderation of nuclear fuel. Nuclear fuel is chemical and resulted from reacting chemicals. Once the turbine turns and you harness the first volt of electricity you may hand it's management off to physics and electrical engineers. Chemists know physics and are required to study it in college. Unfortunately, most physicists do not know beans about chemistry and should have been required to study it in college.

The very fact that someone thinks a nuclear reaction is NOT a chemical reaction proves my point 100%.

Anonymous said...

Idiocracy...

Anonymous said...

Oh, so that makes you a Chemist not a Baker?

I wouldn't put a chemist in charge of a bakery. Asking for trouble.

Karen Sherry Brackett said...

This is a growing problem in the nuclear industry. A lot of mistakes are happening in the industry because of fundamental misunderstandings in the basic principals of science. Our generation today is standing on the shoulders of past generations who were the ones who actually did the hard work of creating nuclear energy and unfortunately it has caused a tilt in the pyramid of knowledge because those that are now falsely positioned at the top (physicists) do not understand the foundation they are standing on. (chemistry)

Anonymous said...

Karen, for you to talk about "misunderstandings" is just too rich, for all your misinformation and half-truths you shamelessly spewed here.

Anonymous said...

"Nuclear power is an inherently hazardous technology; there's no way to make it perfectly safe."

From http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/

Karen Sherry Brackett said...

You are right there in a sense. Saying it is all chemistry is not true but that other half is classified and it is not physics.

Karen Sherry Brackett said...

Anon @ 10:57

It is a still a dangerous technology because it is still in development. We do not really have a choice but to further it's development. There is time coming for our great grandchildren when fossil fuels will be used up. We can't leave them a depleted world. Nuclear technology gives the ability to make energy out of anything. It does not have to be made from uranium. That's the greatest thing about it.

Anonymous said...

Germany has made a different choice. Why not USA?

Anonymous said...

"Karen Sherry Brackett said...

...(yadda, yadda, yadda, something about chemistry)..... in charge of a French Bakery and then we wonder why are crescents are always burnt and tasting poorly."


That's "croissants" and not "crescents". I know you don't get out much, Karen, and are glued to your mindless U.S. TV programs but try not to Americanize classic French bakery products. Learn proper spelling before you expound on chemistry.

Karen Sherry Brackett said...

Germany has chosen to return to coal which is fine as long as they use the same air scrubber technology that is used in the nuclear industry. However, to return to coal and add to a pollution problem which with coal includes lead, mercury and natural uranium they are not solving their problem. They are actually compounding it. Coal is a great fuel source as long as new technology in environmental protection is applied to it's use. There are many great advances in coal fuel as well today. The old technology of basically crushing it into powder and exploding the powder to turn turbines is much least effecient and most costly to produce than newer coal fuel options.

Karen Sherry Brackett said...

LOL, in America Pillsbury labels them as "crescents" =) The point is the French of course are the best bakers in the world. =)

Anonymous said...

Brackett, get your own blog and leave.

Anonymous said...

Germany will be so far ahead of any other country on renewables if the US does not get rid of it's nuclear disease. Other countries are following.

Every nuclear accident adds more radiation to the immediate area. NO Farming, NO habitation, NO commercial pursuits for thousands of years. Chernobyl 2500 sq. km, Fukushima 400 sq. Km (at least). And that is just two events. It WILL keep happening. Just this alone should stop the pursuit of nuclear power. Too much land to loose for generations to come.

And yes, other people are researching the effect of having an xray every day so no need to go into that.

"While Germany’s decision in April 2011 to accelerate the phase-out of nuclear power by 2022 was widely publicized following the Fukushima crisis in Japan, their plans to phase out coal are less well known."

http://world.edu/on-the-road-to-clean-energy-in-germany-lessons-for-the-united-states-part-3/

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