Wednesday, January 9, 2013

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Accident: TEPCO Didn't Procure Fire Engine from Its Own Thermal Power Plant Because It Was Afraid of Breaking the Law

Remember my post about how TEPCO employees at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant tried to "buy car batteries" in their desperate efforts to save the reactors from core melt, instead of just taking them? TEPCO headquarters and Toshiba also dutifully follow the law and waited for the permit to transport batteries on the highway.

I also wrote then that hardly any Japanese thought it odd that TEPCO hadn't just taken the batteries or that Toshiba hadn't simply shipped the batteries without a permit. Reaction from almost all Japanese who read the news was either:

  • "Why didn't they have enough money?" (Or worse, "Why didn't they use credit cards?"

  • "Why didn't the national government issue them the permit?"

  • "We need more laws and regulations for emergencies!"

Asahi Shinbun, who watched all teleconference videos disclosed by TEPCO, has put their findings in a book. One of Asahi reporters who attended the early press conferences tweeted the link to a site that has the summary of the book.

According to the summary of Asahi's book at the site (which seems to be run by several anonymous journalists from the established media companies in Japan), TEPCO, who was incapable of deciding when to follow the law and when not to follow the law (like in an emergency after the nuclear accident), decided to follow the law also when it came to procuring a fire engine to cool the reactors.

From Book Navi website (1/9/2013; part):


As to procuring fire engines, the fire engine at Hirono Thermal Power Station, closest to Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant at only 20 kilometers south of the plant, was never brought to Fukushima I Nuke Plant. The reason was that Hirono Thermal Power Station was designated as "specific station" under the Act on the Prevention of Disasters in Petroleum Industrial Complexes and Other Petroleum Facilities. The Act obliges the Hirono Power Station to always have one large fire engine. There was only one such fire engine. If the engine were to be sent to Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, there was a risk of deviating from the law. No one wanted to take that risk. It was not that someone actively decided they should give up on bringing the fire engine from Hirono. It was scarier, as people simply stopped talking about this fire engine.


Anonymous said...

Looking more like the pawns were never told Daiichi was in the process of melting down esp. what the results would be if the cores did meltdown.

I bet GE was on the phone to the White House making sure boron was being shipped, that saltwater cooling was a bad idea, what the no-zone was to be for US citizens/military and the President should evacuate to another hemisphere for a couple days.

Vyse Legendaire said...

Well, its kind of amazing that there were no fire engines to be found near the plant. Secondarily, isn't it possible there would be a disaster at the Thermal Plant as well...or even a disaster that affects both the nuclear and thermal plants at once? Guess they just prayed that nothing bad happens at all.

Anonymous said...

It's a good thing endangering people isn't against the law or the people in charge would be at a loss for an action plan in an emergency.

Anonymous said...

I'd interpret "We need more laws and regulations for emergencies!" as meaning we need laws and regulations to override normal circumstances.

Still, in the absence of such in the face of urgency, common sense should triumph.

Anonymous said...

" I bet GE was on the phone to the White House making sure boron was being shipped"

No need for a bet. The NRC transcripts say as much.

Anonymous said...

''No one wanted to take the risk''. =Jobsworths

Anonymous said...

This attitude of keeping the law at all cost seems at least understandable at people who get regularly beaten.

Maybe it's not a Tepco-specific problem?

Ageless Yankee said...

Something is very odd with TEPCO and JPN government response to Fukushima. The effort to get these reactors under control isn't serious. Look at what the Russians did at Chernobyl - TEPCO is just twanging their pud.

Supposedly, budget constraints reportedly prevent a major response, yet at the same time JPN central bank is getting ready to do as much QE as is necessary to increase inflation to 2%. Lots of money for banks but not so much to clean up a radioactive disaster that will make Japan uninhabitable for 300 years.

This smells very bad.

Gavin Veasey said...

Isn't it acceptable to take something without an initial payment in a emergency situation? People do that all the time! They'll take something and then pay later. The same goes for the permit to transport the batteries. I doubt the state would fine you for breaking the law because you illegally transported batteries to save a nuclear plant from melting down. And even if they did, so what? What's a fine compared to a nuclear disaster?

It's a sad thing that the people at TEPCO and Toshiba are so beholden to the state bureaucracy that they can't even think for themselves.

Anonymous said...

sry i dont want to break your blog of bullshit. but if i were a fire-engine i would try not to break the law either.
putting the blame on the exact energy source that has been powering your blog from catching fire .. sure u would sue reading all this non snes?
afterall the fireengine operators do not a ppit more/or less then a blog operator?
unless you catch fire of course

Anonymous said...

we'res the trick? there's not THAT much TNT?
what and how do they destroy it? einstein, skinned alive? sucked up a big tree energy, copper coils? a Egyptian mummy? piece of stone that collects weather nergy? how do u destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki? some dirt? in the ground? how?really? cotton weave? there must be a plan o cloth the humans to distinction?
i am asking because soem know .. and i dont. can u help?

Dharmendra Kumar said...
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proptiger said...
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