Thursday, December 13, 2012

Radioactive Materials Dispersion Simulation for Nuclear Regulatory Authority Was Done by One Worker, Using a Pocket Calculator

(Update 12/14/2012) I asked Ryuichi Kino (who's now allowed back in TEPCO press conferences) about these maps. As far as he knows, these maps still ignores geographical information, and treat the land as flat. He says he will ask about it in the next press conference of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority/Agency.


The dispersion simulation maps first announced by the Nuclear Regulatory Authority right were full of errors and had to be redone. NRA announced the corrected maps on December 13, but according to the article by Tokyo Shinbun, the real story is not the maps but how the maps were created.

According to the Tokyo Shinbun article as quoted at "Zamamiyagarei" blog, the history is as follows:

  1. Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, before it was shut down, decided to have the simulation maps created for each nuclear power plant in Japan. It contracted Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization (JNES) to do the job. [I've read elsewhere that the job was for mere 10 million yen, or US$119,000).]

  2. JNES had one person in charge of the job, and he gave it to a long-term subcontractor called CSA Japan in Tokyo, as usual.

  3. CSA Japan had one person doing the job of creating the simulation maps for the entire nuclear power plants in Japan, who used his pocket calculator to calculate the dispersion models. He apparently made numerous errors, resulting in the inaccurate simulation maps that NRA announced, to their embarrassment.

  4. No one at JNES or NRA checked the work.

It's not that using a pocket calculator is bad. An Indian "computor" (a person who computes) calculated the height of Peak XV in Himalaya by hand calculation. It is all in the brain, after all.

CSA Japan was incorporated in 1999 with the capital of 10 million yen. Its main customers are government agencies and large corporations in nuclear industry. JNES comes near the top of the customer list. TEPCO also seems to be their regular customer:

Japan Atomic Energy Agency
Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization
Tokyo Electric Power Company
The Japan Atomic Power Company
TEPCO Systems Corporation
Institute of Nuclear Safety System ,Incorporated
Genden Information System Co.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
Nuclear Fuel Industries ,Ltd.
Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.
MHI Nuclear Engineering Company, Limited
Itochu Techno-Solutions Corporation
TOiNX (Tohoku Information Systems Company, Incorporated)

Why did NISA need to create simulation maps by contracting them out cheaply, which ended up on the lap of one unhappy employee at a subcontractor who used a pocket calculator? They have SPEEDI.

My guess is that NISA figured it was cheaper to contract out anew than to run SPEEDI.

"Cheap, cheap", sang a NISA bird. So sings just about every government agencies in Japan, large and small. Money before safety. That's what two "lost decades" have done to the country.

By the way, the first set of maps not only got the wind directions wrong, but they didn't consider the topography at all, treating the land in Japan as flat. I don't know if that has been corrected in the new version. With a pocket calculator, it may have been a bit too complicated.


Anonymous said...

This country has NO BUSINESS operating nuclear power plants. Incompetent! They are a danger to themselves and everyone else on the planet. Shut their reactors down. And keep them down.

Greyhawk said...

Has the Nuclear Industry taken over the entire planet? The Soviets covered up a lot of the Chernobyl dangers, the US government covered up the truth about Three Mile Island, now the Japanese government is covering up that which cannot be covered up when people begin dying in massive numbers. Are these people stupid enough to believe we are that stupid?

Anonymous said...

Mind boggling incompetence, this is just crazy is Japan doing running reactors?

Anonymous said...

I would expect this from some banana republic--BUT JAPAN?

obat alternatif osteoporosis said...

nice post !!

Darth 3/11 said...

..."unhappy subcontractor"...easy to miss this one. It is a good point. This group is by definition not fully employed...surely a status that is not satisfactory for most. As someone who experienced this status in the U.S.A., it was by nature demeaning and devaluing. No one looked out for my best interests. It did not lead to being a terrific employee, as I knew I was basically fired the day I began, so what investment did I have to excel for this company that hired me that did not care to support my life beyond the most basic wages?

Great way to run a nuclear power plant and intricate, unprecedented clean up for the next 100 years or more. A situation that requires dedicated workers. I feel despair.

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