Friday, June 29, 2012

#Fukushima's "Lesson" Learned Well by the Japanese Government: Don't Plan for Core Melt, Don't Train, Don't Alarm Residents

The first Nuclear Emergency Preparedness Training since the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident was being planned last year. What did the national government assume in an nuclear accident, now that they had supposedly learned the "lessons" from the Fukushima accident?

Why, eliminate the situations like "core melt" (meltdown), of course! We cannot alarm the public, can we?

From Kyodo News (6/30/2012; emphasis is mine):

国の訓練想定「炉心溶融なし」 原発事故後、「不安増長」と

Assumption by the national government on [Nuclear Emergency Preparedness] training: "No core melt", as it would "increase uneasiness" after the nuclear accident.


It was discovered on June 30 that the Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization (JNES) had drafted the plan for the National Nuclear Emergency Preparedness Training [last year] that would exclude the possibility of core meltdown as had happened in the Fukushima nuclear accident and avoid assumption of the worst-case scenario. JNES had been instructed to draft the plan [by the national government]. Kyodo News obtained the draft plan with the freedom of information request.


[The reason for excluding "core melt"] was because it would increase uneasiness among the local residents. In the meantime, the plan assumed the Off-Site Centers, which didn't work in the Fukushima nuclear accident, would be functioning fully after a certain period of time.


JNES supports the practical aspect of safety regulations by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. It drafted the plan for the Training for the fiscal 2011 under the instruction from NISA.

More than not assuming the core melt, the fully-functioning Off-Site Centers triggered a belly laugh from me.

Here's the list of all the Off-Site Centers, at NISA's site. By design, they are located within the 20-kilometer radius from the respective nuclear power plants or nuclear facilities.

The Off-Site Center for Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant was only 5 kilometers away from the plant, and didn't even have the maps of the areas outside the 10-kilometer radius from the plant. It didn't have air filters to block radioactive materials either.

The Off-Site Center for Ooi Nuclear Power Plant (which has been having a series of seemingly minor problems indicative of deferred or sloppy maintenance) is 7 kilometers away from the plant, and the only way to access the plant is by one road.

Japan is very ill-suited to operate a nuclear power plant, and it is not the matter of technology.

(Neither is India, if workers got sick drinking tritium-laced water from a water cooler... I wonder how much removed the water was from the source of tritium...)


Anonymous said...

Hardly a lesson learned, but rather an excellent exercise in denial on what can only qualify as a pathological level.

Thankfully, Japanese are starting to make their voices heard (this blog site being a very valuable part of that) so that nonsense like this doesn't happen undetected and/or uncriticized anymore.

My respect for and regard to everyone who makes the effort to say "no" in whatever way he or she can.

Anonymous said...

Oops, to the "... to say 'no' in whatever way ..." in my previous post I would like to add "as long as it is nonviolent".

Anonymous said...

Epic fail. Taking denial to the next level.

Anonymous said...

What amazes me is that the financial markets still seem to think Japan is a safe haven. Yen still under 80 to the dollar. If Japan is considered safe, this makes me wonder what's happening in the rest of the world.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the OT post, but thoughtit'd be of interest that this is on the UC Berkeley site:

"We are pleased to announce that our Department has been awarded a Presidential Citation from the American Nuclear Society: ..."

Dang, with an award like that from ANS, along with how it's for informing the public properly, I can't help but doubt the info on that site.

Anonymous said...

I've still been having arguments with people who insist nuclear energy is completely safe - they don't want to go backwards, saying only the present matters, etc. It's frustrating as all hell. Some of these people are supposed to be my friends, too...

At the rate things are going, they're not going to just go backwards, they'll go back to the beginning... assuming there'll be anything left to go back to.

It feels like any time anyone points out valid concerns anywhere, a bunch of people start pointing fingers and yelling "conspiracy theorists", "whiners", or any other popular buzz word used to dismiss other people. They never even research the subject; they just don't care.

Most people seem to react like this. It's why I'm so convinced that we're all screwed, and why I'm disgusted by humanity as a whole.

Anonymous said...

More "lessons learned" in the regulatory world.

The ANS just took a bus ride to visit the Dresden plant this week. Plenty of time on the ride to discuss the important topics - low dose radiation exposure is good for you, concrete embrittlement is not a problem,...

May I use your headline on my next sign?

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous at 5:58:
Don't give up having discussions. Otherwise, only the next major accident might convince people of the risks of nuclear energy, and the goal is, of course, to prevent the next major accident. That can only be done with continued and persistent discussions, however frustrating it indeed is at times.

As for those who say only the present matters, well, contaminated land and food in Japan with an accident at four nuclear reactors posing risks and costing oodles of money, that IS the present! That as well as death and disease thanks to the Chernobyl accident 25 years ago IS the present!

Discussing, questioning, and fighting against the use of nuclear energy technology is not going backwards. It is about ensuring that there will be a future.

Anonymous said...

Lessons learned is nuclear industry code for OOPS! It is a good word to use in your favorite search engine (lesson learned nuclear) to find little known nuclear accidents or near misses.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 7:03AM
Thanks for the encouragement, but that's the problem. Everyone seems sure there won't be a major accident. They judge safety based on immediate visible lethal effect and rate of occurrence. They don't judge based on the risks and possible factors.

Their lack of foresight and eagerness to dismiss is beyond appalling. Persisting just makes them tired of the subject and quick to ignore me. I did point out that the contamination in Japan and Chernobyl are happening right now, but they didn't react to that.

It hasn't even been a century and we're already seeing various negative effects from widespread radioactive contamination. I think it's pretty obvious that we're not going to last long at this rate.

I don't think it's unrealistic to suggest that we'll see more major disasters before the end of our lifespans. Even if we don't, it's still hard to make people care about a future that they probably won't be around to experience. It's one of the things that makes me think twice about having kids. Even if my kids avoid contamination, they'd have to deal with the idiots who bask in it.

I just saw this, don't know if it's old news:

Reminds me of the friend who got upset when I said mainstream media is less trustworthy...

Anonymous said...

Hello O/T It appears to be a recent blog:
I always wondered why we heard over and over about Exon's and BPs spills, but minimal about Fukushima.
When I read Earnest Sternglass' book it became clear that by the 1970s the media had been bought off by the nuclear industry and the modus operandi was to ridicule any assertions that nuclear was unsafe. This was so nuclear weapons could continue their development and storage without public concern. Now I want to read 100,000,000 Guinea Pigs (1933) which prompted the formation of the FDA. Because now we have millions more Guinea Pigs (i.e. all forms of life really).

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous at 8:02:
You are welcome. And I hear you. Being against nuclear energy since the mid-70s myself, I understand your problem well. The convenient path of ignorance so many people have chosen is simply infuriating.

Especially since you're unfortunately correct. Statistically speaking, the next major accident is waiting to happen and it will likely occur in our life-times.

Even more unfortunate, there is not much you can do, and forcing the topic on people is counterproductive as well. As they say in the US, "You can lead a horse to the water, but you cannot force it to drink". Regardless, you should probably still do your part and lead the horse to the water, no?

So you can choose to stay silent in resignation or you can choose to continue to speak up against NPPs whenever feasible. At least you will know you tried. And, of course, you can make personal decisions (such as not having kids, as you suggested) that you believe best for yourself. Also, you could join one or more activist groups, which would provide the benefits of combining forces with others and having greater resources available to spread your message while also finding the moral support of like-minded people whenever things turn frustrating.

As for the O/T link: thanks. Would explain well why the protests against Ooi reopening have initially received so little mass media coverage. As for the US and as previously pointed out in some other comment, General Electric does not only build NPPs, but also owns a bunch of major media networks - a connection that might give an idea of what one can expect from the mass media when it comes to the nuclear energy topic.

Just the more reason for everyone of us common folks who "get it" to speak up against the use of nuclear power to educate others since, by and large, no one else will do it, certainly not the mass media.


Anonymous said...

Did someone say GE...

Money anyone?

trying to catch up to today's posts

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous at 6:52:
Thanks for the two links. Quite enlightening. Helped me understand a couple of things I always wondered about.

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