Sunday, December 2, 2012

TEPCO's Teleconference Video from March 16 to April 6, 2011 Shows TEPCO HQ's Ineptitude, Meddling by the Government (1)

Fukushima I Nuclear Plant Manager Yoshida said angrily to a manager in TEPCO HQ:

"If it [Reactor 3] explodes, we'll all die. Do you understand? Take it seriously and come up with the procedure!"

He was talking about the SDF helicopter's water dropping operation at the request of the Kan administration, which eventually took place on March 17, 2011.

On November 30, 2012, TEPCO released the 336 hours of its teleconference video from March 16 to 23, and from March 30 to April 6, 2011. TEPCO only made about 2 hours worth of the video available to the general public (online). The rest of the video is only available for viewing at TEPCO's headquarters and only by the qualified press (Japan press club members).

One such qualified press, Sankei Shinbun viewed part of the video, and wrote a series of articles on what they found.

Excerpts from Sankei Shinbun (12/1/2012) on the Self Defense Force spraying water onto the Spent Fuel Pool of Reactor 3 paint the scene as that of confusion and anger. The first segment below is from March 16, 2011, which is part of the video only available to the qualified press, and the second segment is on March 17, 2011, in the video TEPCO made available to public (embedded below, in Japanese only).

One caveat: Sankei has been highly critical of the Democratic Party of Japan's administrations, and they often go out of the way to emphasize the ham-handed meddling by the DPJ politicians.

[On March 16, 2011, Plant Manager Yoshida sternly speaks to a manager in TEPCO HQ. When the HQ manager suggests Yoshida should plan for emergency, Yoshida gets angry, and stops using the polite form of Japanese and breaks into a rather rude form, which I cannot fully render into English but tried my best.]


Fukushima I Plant Manager Masao Yoshida: "How are they going to inject water? I would like you to instruct us a bit more clearly. Any instruction will do, like a procedure manual."


Manager at TEPCO HQ: "It is important to establish a procedure, but I think it is also necessary to prepare for emergency and quick retreat."


Yoshida: "Yes, but I want the HQ to create a procedure manual. Don't you have it? The manual? You thought simply pouring water would do it, is that it? We'll all be watching, around [the reactor]. And you know what, if it explodes, we'll all die, you understand? We'll do it, I understand it has to be done right now. So get serious, and come up with the procedure, please!"



(March 17, 2011 at 9:48AM, the first helicopter arrived, and the dumping of water on Reactor 3 was shown on TV.) [It's about 33 minutes into the video.]


A worker at Fukushima I Nuke Plant: "This is it? Where's the water?"


Another worker: "Agh. (Water) didn't reach Reactor 3. What is this?"


The first worker: "Oh well.. It is just a spray."

Spraying the water from air and capturing it on video and releasing the video worldwide was an idea by the Kan administration to appeal to the world that the administration was in control of the accident. After seeing the video, according to the former State Department official Kevin Maher, the US government officials called in the Japanese ambassador and said to him,

"Look, you have to take this stuff seriously. We don't know what's going to happen."

Maher said the US government was terrified, in his interview in January this year, recalling the time. He published a book about the accident and the government response ("決断できない日本 The Japan That Can't Decide") last year, but no one in Japan seems to have paid any attention, as it contradicts the official stories of Japan and the US which were all praise of this daring operations caught live on camera.

Speaking of helicopter, Maher also said last year that one of the items freely offered by the US government to the Japanese government right after the nuclear accident started was an unmanned helicopter. After going back and forth, with the Japanese government asking about the technical details and trivial points about the helicopter and its operation, the big question finally came from the Japanese government: "In the event that the helicopter is contaminated by radiation, what will happen with regards to compensation?"

US officials must have thought they were speaking with the space aliens.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The early attempts to water bomb the facilities were a total disaster. Anyone with eyes could see they were wasting their time and the responders lives putting on a show for the world. When the NRC is worried about a nuclear problem and they are suggesting an evacuation area five times the size of "normal" accidents you know you're neck deep in the big muddy. All of TEPCO's information on the accident should be a matter of public record, after all the public now owns the company.

JanickInJapan said...

Thank you Ex-SKF for all your efforts to keep us informed in English. Your work is really terrific and invaluable.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with 3:52. I remember the videos aired by NHK showing the helicopters "spraying" the reactors. It was so patently off mark that, really, anyone with eyes could see it. Not even good for PR.

Records should be all public but it is not the public money that bought Tepco -- it's the goverment money and government, NISA and Tepco are all one and the same.

After your taxes land in the state coffers it is not you money any more, after you voted for someone it is not your will any more. That is why a referendum on nuclear power is paramount.

Anonymous said...

Yeah well, like I've said before... they're more concerned about making the world think they're doing something useful, than actually doing something useful.

All those fuckers specialize at PR and fail at everything else. Politics itself revolves around PR. That's why the system is fucked.

VyseLegendaire said...

The water-spraying incident from the helicopter was reminiscent of an episode of Ultraman. It was both farcical but meant to be realistic at once.

Anonymous said...

In those early hours, so many Japanese (Yoshida excepted) had no sense of crisis. Completely unable to read the situation. Is this human nature? Part of the Japanese character? Any of you armchair sociologists have a theory?

Anonymous said...

They are just idiots.

Anonymous said...

Check this article about it all from new york times blog...

Japan is a farce

Anonymous said...

As JanickInJapan said, thank you very much for your efforts to keep us informed about what is going here. So so useful. Also helps me to convice my japanese gilrfriend to be careful..

Anonymous said...

"In those early hours, so many Japanese (Yoshida excepted) had no sense of crisis."

Of course they did not. The Japanese nuclear authorities (NISA) did exactly nothing to prepare plant operators for beyond design basis accidents. The operators (like TEPCO) in turn were only too happy to ignore this aspect of the work.

So, no-one in a position of authority had any idea just how bad it could get, how fast. Of course, plant management had done some thinking, so they were scared, but even they had no way of fully appreciating the urgency of the situation as exercises had never been run on this scenario and the SAMG was lacunary to the point of uselessness.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Anon at 2:05PM, maybe there was something in the air or soil or food in Japan before Fukushima that made people high on dream and hope. Many of my relatives and friends didn't even know Reactor 3 exploded until several months later.

Anon at 10:48PM, remember the animation video of core melt that the government agency had created long before Fukushima? They knew.

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