Thursday, August 16, 2012

(Part 2 of 2) Video Interview Transcript of Former Plant Manager of #Fukushima I Nuke Plant Masao Yoshida: "We Put the Names of Workers on the Whiteboard, As a Grave Marker"


Following the part 1 , here's the part 2 of the video transcript of Mr. Masao Yoshida, former plant manager of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.

Again, the occasion was a small symposium in Fukushima on August 11, 2012, and Mr. Yoshida's video interview was done in July, before he had cerebral hemorrhage.

The transcript is from Mainichi Shinbun article (8/11/2012), not from the video which only 140 or so people who attended the seminar got to watch.

−−吉田さんは所員の精神の支柱だった。
Workers relied on you as their mental [emotional] support.

◆私は何もしていない。私のとりえは福島第1原発に4回、赴任したことだ。第1原発のメンバーの名前もほとんどわかっているし、協力企業さんも結構つきあいがあり、名前で呼べるんですね。「○○さん、○○くん、大丈夫か」とか。それだけだ。それで声をかけただけだ。私は。何もできていない。みんなやってくれたということだ。いまだにそう思っている。

I didn't do anything. All I can say is that I have worked at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant on 4 different appointments. I know almost all [TEPCO] workers at the plant, and I know many in the affiliate companies. I know their names. "Mr. so-and-so, are you alright?" That was it. I asked them. That's all I did. I couldn't do anything. Everyone else did it. That's how I still feel.

−−事細かなコミュニケーションをとったということか?
You mean you took time to communicate with them?

◆そうだ。やはり知らない間じゃないということだ。昔から一緒に仕事をした仲間だ。そういう仲間が大変な現場に行って帰ってき、出て行くというのを見ているので、頭を下げるしかない。

Yes. We know each other. We've been working together for a long time, we're colleagues [we've been in this together]. I watched these colleagues of mine go to the horrendous scene of the accident at the plant, come back, and go back out again. All I could do was to bow my head [and thank them].

−−3号機が爆発した段階では死ぬかと思ったか?
Did you think you would die when Reactor 3 blew up?

◆今回一番インパクトがあったのは1号機もそうだが、3号機の爆発というのがあった。これは今まで経験した中で非常に、あとから考えれば水素爆発だったが、その時点では何が起こったかわからないという状態なので、これから、もう破滅的に何か起こってるんじゃないかと思った。爆発について。一つは自分が死ぬということ、メンバーも含めて、免震重要棟の人間は死んでたっておかしくない状態だった。3号機なんかは特にそうだった。あれだけのがれきが飛んできて。私は、最初は行方不明者が何人ということを聞いた時に、確か数十人レベルでまだ安否が確認できていないというのが最初の状況だった。ああこれは10人ぐらい死んだかもしれないというふうに思った。そこから時々刻々、だれだれがという話が入ってきて、軽傷の人間は何人かいたが。それから自衛隊の方には本当に申し訳なかった。水を補給しにきてくれた自衛隊の部隊がけがをされて、本当に申し訳ないと思っている。不幸中の幸いで人命にかかわるものではなく、これはある意味、仏様のあれかなという感じが私はしている。

In addition to Reactor 1 ['s explosion], Reactor 3's explosion made the strongest impact [on me]. In retrospect it was a hydrogen explosion, but at that time we didn't know what was happening. I thought something catastrophic had happened. About the explosions. I could die, and all people in the Anti-Seismic Building could die, at any moment. It was particularly so after the explosion at Reactor 3. That much debris flying all over. When I first heard that several people were missing, safety of tens of people was not confirmed yet. I thought, maybe more than 10 people just died. Then, more information started to come in, confirming the safety of people, though there were some with minor injuries. And I feel very sorry for the Self Defense Force. The SDF troop came to supply water and they were caught in the explosion and were injured. I am very sorry. One consolation is that injuries were not life-threatening, and I feel as if it was some kind of divine providence.

−−原発に残ったメンバーの名前をホワイトボードに書くように指示したとのことだが、どのような思いだったか?
You instructed your people to write down the names of the members who remained in the plant on the whiteboard. What were you thinking?

◆ほとんどその時のことを思い出せないが、たぶん、要するに最後まで残って戦ったのはこんな人間だぞということを残しておこうということだ。今から思えば。わかんないですよ。私自身。本当に。

I hardly remember how it was, but probably I just wanted to show what kind of people remained and fought till the bitter end. In retrospect. I don't know myself, really.

−−墓標になると思って書いたということか。

You thought it would serve as a grave marker.

◆はい。そうだ。

Yes.

−−最後に何かお話はあるか?

Any last thoughts, comments?

◆いずれにしても今回の事象は、いろいろ国会とか政府事故調、民間事故調などで書かれているが、我々は特に政府事故調にはすべてを話をさせていただいた。マスコミの方からいろいろ問い合わせがあるが、お話は全部すべてそちらでさせていただいているので、そこをベースに考えていただければいいと思っている。ただやっぱりなかなか我々の肉声というのは通じない。調査委員会を通すと肉声がなかなか届かない。その部分はいろいろな形でちゃんとメッセージを発信していかないといけないと思っている。私一人ではなくてあそこで一緒にやったいろいろな仲間の経験をちゃんと伝えたい。

This event [Mr. Yoshida uses an industry term for this accident] has been discussed and written up by the investigation commissions by the Diet, Cabinet Office, and the private foundation. We [at TEPCO] have thoroughly discussed with the Cabinet Office investigation commission in particular. There are many inquiries from the mass media, but we have said all to these commissions [TEPCO wasn't interviewed by the private commission] so I think it is enough for the media to go from there. But it is hard to have our true voice heard. Our true voice does not come across through the [reports of the] investigation commissions. For that part, I think we should spread the message in various ways. Not just my experience, but the experience of my colleagues who worked at the plant together, I would like to tell properly.

−−これから第1原発や福島県はどうあるべきか?

How should Fukushima I Nuke Plant and Fukushima Prefecture be, from now on?

◆そういう次元の高い話になると今すぐに答えがないが、やっぱり発電所をどうきちっと安定化させるかがベースだ。そこができていない中で、地元にお帰りいただくわけにはいかないので、そこが最大の(課題だ)。これは事故当時も言っていたが、日本国中だけでなく世界の知恵を集めて、より発電所、第1原発をより安定化させることが一番求められている。いろいろなだれの責任うんぬんということもきちっとやるべきだが、やはり発電所を少しでも安定させる。それには人も必要だし、技術もいろいろな知恵が必要だ。そこに傾注するということが重要なことだと思う。そのうえで、地元の方々に(通常の)生活に戻っていただけるか考えることができる。いずれにしても現場を落ち着かせる、安定化させることが一番重要な責務だ。私はちょっとまだ十分な体力がないが、戻ったらそういう形で現場のために力を届けたい。

That's a high-level question, and I don't have a ready answer for that. But it comes down to how to make the plant stabilized in a proper way. We cannot have the residents [in the surrounding areas] come back home while this is not accomplished, so it is the largest (task). What's needed most, as I was also saying during the accident, is to make Fukushima I Nuke Plant more stabilized, using the knowledge and expertise not just in Japan but in the world. We should properly assign responsibility [for the accident] on people, but what's most important is to make the plant as stable as possible. We need people for that, we need technologies and new ideas. I think it is important to focus [on the stabilization of the plant]. Only then we can decide whether the local residents can return to their normal lives. In any way, the most important task is to calm down, stabilize the situation at the plant. I still don't have enough strength, but when I come back [from illness] I want to do all I can for the plant that way [i.e. making the plant more stable].


It seems it was this last paragraph that went on a "telephone game" in some foreign media:

  1. Yoshida says they need to stabilize the plant.

  2. That means the plant is not stable, as of now.

  3. Therefore, the plant is unstable, in danger.

  4. Run! It's dangerous.


All Mr. Yoshida said was the plant needs to be made more stable, in a proper way - replacing Kanaflex hoses would be one, removing the debris and clutter would be another - so that the plant's various operations can run in a smooth, predictable manner, with no accidents like small fires and water leaks, not to mention major accidents.

By the way, this "Yoshida said the plant is not stable" duly came back to Japan as a credible piece of news in English, but it quickly disappeared among more sensational headlines (like butterfly mutation due to Fukushima radiation, for one).

8 comments:

Hélios said...

Ultraman, I said Aquarius sign is humanist and I say it again. Thank you to take time to translate.

Have a good night.

Anonymous said...

Laprimavera,

In the second to last paragraph, when he says 我々は, is he really talking about Tepco or about the workers at the plant during the first days? I say it because he basically talks about the guys working with him on-site for the most part.

Anonymous said...

"in retrospect it was a hydrogen explosion".

I would like someone to help clarify the translation of this statement. It sounds strange to me that Yoshida would say it this way.

In the transcript from the videos released last week of the actual inside communications during the event, and translated here on EXSKF - when the explosion happens, Yoshida described it as a "steam explosion" - and immediately Tepco corporate HQ comes back and says it was a "hydrogen explosion, like the other one". To which Yoshida replies in the affirmative.

Here is translated "in retrospect it was a hydrogen explosion"

My question is something that can only be derived from the native language versions of the events, not the translated versions.

Is someone telling Yoshida to change the story from "steam explosion" to "hydrogen explosion" retroactively? In the video transcript/translation it appears that this was subtly occurring in real time.

Is Yoshida intending to tip us off by saying "in retrospect"?

Or is it all just a translation/interpretation error and I'm jumping to a conclusion?

James

Anonymous said...

arevamirpal,
Why has the video of Yoshida's recollections only been shown to "140 or so people"?
Sorry if I missed it, did you already post information on this symposium and who attended ?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

It was a small symposium attended by about 140 people who paid to get in.

James, my translation is exactly what he said (or Mainichi transcript says he said). No one knew what it was exactly, when the explosion happened - hydrogen, steam, or something else. In the early reports of these explosions, experts did suspect some chemical or gas explosion (particularly in Reactor 4).

anon at 4:09AM, I took it to mean "we at TEPCO" because he was talking about the commission hearings.

Anonymous said...

Sorry if I was unclear - I was not questioning the translation - I was asking whether you could "read between the lines" of what he said in the native language - like I would if it were said in english this way.

I 'm pretty sure he called it a steam explosion in real time.

And that's the logical source of the explosion, given they had runaway temps and pressures inside the reactor. The reactor log shows over 1000 psi in the RPv prior to the explosion, and they were in a panic trying to bring that back down.

James

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

James, no I don't think there's much to read between the lines, other than no one knew what was happening. He did say initially it was "steam explosion", as I posted in my translation of the particular video.

US NRC, in the transcript of their meetings in the early days (March or early April 2011, I think), someone did say the Reactor 3 explosion was "ex-vessel".

I'm still trying to figure out what that flicker near or at the SFP was, before the main explosion took place in the center of the reactor building.

And as I posted before, a Japanese researcher (explosion expert) believes it was both hydrogen explosion and steam explosion, in both Reactor 1 and Reactor 3.

Anonymous said...

"telephone game" u have to give teh devil its due. after being stripped of assets & manufacturing by banks & not being able to afford by banks new services, the TELCOs new business is spying on everyone, thus they have more information than EVAR

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