Sunday, July 22, 2012

Government Commission's Final Report on #Fukushima Nuke Accident Blames Government, Experts, TEPCO

The investigation commission on the Fukushima accident set up by the Cabinet Office of the government has just issued its final report.

You can download your own copy from this page, but the main report in English has to wait.

This commission conducted the investigation and carried out interviews with people involved since the start of the nuclear accident in March last year in private, unlike the National Diet commission who also released its final report recently.

Some have criticized the government commission for not making its sessions open to public. I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing. The National Diet commission should be applauded for its openness and its highly critical final report (anyone reading?), but in some of the public testimonies of the commission that I watched it was rather a place for the expert commissioners to display (or show off) their expertise and knowledge of the nuclear issues in general.

So, will there be information only obtainable in the closed sessions? We'll find out, but someone at Jiji Tsushin has clearly been assigned to read the voluminous report, and he/she has been putting up short articles. Judging from these articles, the government investigation commission is just as critical, if not way more, as the Diet investigation commission. Some of the points from Jiji articles (7/23/2012, here, here and here, in Japanese):

  • Detailed analysis and timeline from the time the water injection into RPVs failed till the damages to RPVs and Containment Vessels occurred;

  • Conclusion on how and when the core melt happened and progressed cannot be made because the actual survey at the plant is highly difficult [to say the least...];

  • Experts from TEPCO, NISA, and Nuclear Safety Commission at the PM's Official Residence failed to provide expert opinion and advice, adding to the distrust by PM Kan of these "in-house" experts;

  • Head of NISA couldn't answer Kan's question about the precise locations of emergency diesel generators [... should he be asking such details?];

  • PM Kan decided to go to Fukushima I Nuke Plant on March 12 morning because he (said he) had "the food feel for the place" when it came to technical aspects of nuclear energy;

  • Communication process was haphazard, direct communication between TEPCO and PM's Official Residence, without NISA's intermediation, had never been assumed or planned;

  • TEPCO, even though they were well trained and knowledgeable, they critically lacked the ability to think in a flexible and proactive manner;

  • TEPCO's organization was too vertically segmented to deal with the accident;

  • TEPCO didn't seem eager to find out what was happening at the plant in the early hours and days of the accident.

If you can think flexibly and proactively and you are curious, you wouldn't be working at TEPCO or NISA (or any ministry or government agency), I'm afraid.

The last Jiji Tsushin article linked above has examples of TEPCO's "inattention" to details and its vertically segmented organization:

From March 12 to 21, nearly 1,000 personal dosimeters were sent to Fukushima I Nuke Plant from Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuke Plant in Niigata (operated by TEPCO) and from Shikoku Electric Power Company. However, TEPCO employees didn't ask for [?] the equipment needed [to use those dosimeters], they were never used. Until the end of March, only one dosimeter was available per work group of several workers.

On the first day of the accident on March 11, Masao Yoshida, general manager of the plant, instructed [his managers] to plan for water injection using fire engines. However, because of TEPCO's vertically segmented organization, no one thought it was his job to do so.


Little Canary said...

I wonder how much it cost to make this Final report. Probabbly more than 300.000 Dollars.

How about the consecuences? is going to be any prosecution?

So at the end is just another big budget inside job for those who qualify or ar apoinnted to do it.

This is another example of how politicians worldwide use a crisis to spend taxpayers money.

Chibaguy said...

My two cents; it sounds like everyone out of harms way will get off for playing stupid while those truly trying stop the disaster will be forgotten. Things do not change but we change and that is it.

Anonymous said...

Did I understand correctly tonight on NHK that the commission thinks it is not appropriate to pursue the people responsible for this disaster?

Anonymous said...

And TEPCO's president still has the audacity to expect that he will be allowed to restart their idled nuclear plants!? Never again. It cannot be allowed.

The company must be completely broken up and all of the employees and contractors trained by TEPCO should never be allowed to work with hazardous materials or dangerous science ever again.

Anonymous said...

Good report but no consequences, the shits running tepco and Edano get away scot free... no justice in japan and certainly not a democracy..

Anonymous said...

The report may not be available in English yet, but the commission's recommendations are. In the released document, one finds a quite telling summary.


"... It became clear through the investigation that the accident had been initiated on the occasion of a natural disaster of an earthquake and tsunami, but that there had been various complex problems behind this very serious and large scale accident, i.e., the problems in the accident preventive measures and disaster preparedness, in on-site emergency responses to the accident, and in preventive measures against the spread of damage outside the nuclear power station.
Examples [meaning the following is still not all of it?] are: the then-available accident preventive measures and disaster preparedness of TEPCO and the Nuclear Industry and Safety Agency (“NISA”) were insufficient against tsunami and severe accidents; the preparedness for a large-scale complex disaster was insufficient; and they were unprepared for the release of a large amount of radioactive materials into the environment caused by a containment failure. Inadequate TEPCO emergency responses to the accident at the site were also identified. Furthermore, in the preventive measures against the spread of damage taken by the central and local governments, problems were identified which lacked consideration to the victims, such as the radiation monitoring operation, the utilization of the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI), evacuation instructions to the residents, responses to the people’s radiation exposure, or the provision of information to the nation and outside the country. In addition, problems of the crisis management system of the government came to light, too. ..."

So things went wrong on all levels before, during, and after the accident started. And we, the public, are to believe that NPPs are safe and all is well planned out and organized to ensure no harm will come to us. Yeah, right. The only safety I see in this so far is that the responsible parties are safe from being held responsible.

Anonymous said...

What seems to be missing from this report is the very basic problem that the CONTAINMENT was not actually designed to CONTAIN.

Convenient this omission. Had they included it, then all those other plants with the same design would have a harder time re-opening.

In the early 1970's GE engineers quit their jobs over the potentially catastrophic design failings. Arnie Gundersen also frequently cites NRC internal memos from the same period saying that the design of this reactor is flawed, but that for the sake of the then nacent industry, it will not be taken out of production.

All of these reports need to consider also the fact that the DESIGNS of the BARRIER to prevent release of radiation into the environment COULD have been designed stronger and better, but was not.

This too is a big part of the problem. Let's not forget it.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon at 7:10: Very good point!!!

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