Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pictorial-2: Another Elementary Mistake in Water Leak at #Fukushima I NPP - Good Old Overflow


This is now a toddler-would-start-to-be-embarassed level of a mistake.

In preparation for the typhoon rain, workers connected the hose to transport rainwater into a square tank (TEPCO calls it "notch tank") and turned on the pump. The problem was that they connected to a wrong tank in a wrong area (H6 Area, instead of intended H2), and the rainwater overflowed.

Photo from TEPCO (10/1/2013):

(Photo taken by Nuclear Regulation Authority)


NRA chairman Shunichi Tanaka is worried about the recent spate of minor water leaks at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant due to apparent worker errors, and commented, according to Mainichi Shinbun (10/9/2013):

「現場の士気がかなり落ちており、不注意によるトラブルを起こす原因になっている。今後東電の経営陣に(士気向上を)求める必要がある」

"The [workers'] morale at the plant has dropped considerably, causing problems due to carelessness. We need to request TEPCO's top management to (boost the morale)."


Commissioner Fuketa, in the same Mainichi article, also said:

「汚染水の移送先の間違いなど単純な人的ミスが発生しており、看過できない」

"Simple, human errors are occurring, including the one where workers transported the contaminated water to a wrong tank. We cannot overlook such errors."


So, what are you going to do, Dr. Tanaka and Dr. Fuketa?

TEPCO's top management, as with any top management at any large corporation, does not necessarily know how the front-line workers at the plant work. Recall how then-Plant Manager Masao Yoshida had to fight the top management to get the job done at the plant.

Besides, many workers at the plant are made to work for peanuts ($100 a day, if that) with no benefit or job security, as a contract worker at a subcontractor.

The best morale-boosting thing TEPCO could do, I think, would be to split out the plant as a separate company, directly hire the workers with benefits, raise own capital and attract companies/people with expertise in decommissioning. Too bad the idea, which was first raised and advocated by then-TEPCO Chairman Katsumata in 2011, was shot down by the Democratic Party of Japan administration under Naoto Kan.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Agreed on hiking pay and benefits to workers. Disagreeing on relieving Tepco and its investors of the Fukushima liability.

Anonymous said...

If the top managers don't know how the front line of workers work, then they should inform themselves. Management is not only about how to manage the corporation as a whole, but also to ensure that everything runs smoothly all the way down the line.
Not to relieve individual workers entirely of their own responsibilities and accountabilities, I have yet to see TEPCO management to acknowledge mistakes on its part and its share of responsibility and accountability for the "workers' errors."

Once they do that and take actions accordingly, worker morale will also improve.
*mscharisma*

Anonymous said...

I think just 1) hiring the people directly and 2) frequently showing up and getting involved on the site would already do wonders…

Of course, (2) also applies to NRA commissioners…

Anonymous said...

The best morale boosting thing they could do is stop bullshitting about how serious this shit is, so people will take the workers seriously and appreciate their efforts instead of paying them a pittance and then shitting on their faces.

Vyse Legendaire said...

I agree with the idea of a separate TEPCO but you would have to wonder if they might end up underfunded...

Anonymous said...

The problem with gross mistakes at Fuku 1 is not recent nor limited to water... recall when they did electric work without disconnecting the equipment they worked on?
Obviously Tepco is not qualified for operating npps (Izumida-san, who said this?), is not qualified for electric work and even as a plumber they make mistakes. The only thing they do well is charging their customers for their mistakes, their inflated costs and their 3% guaranteed profit.
Beppe

Darth 3.11 said...

Exactly what I have saying. Start treating this like the long-time problem it is. Make "npp decommissioning" a real job category. Provide real housing and jobs with benefits and retirement plans. The constant turnover of employees means there is little "shared knowledge" that is built up and passed down, or at least this is done in a haphazard fashion. In other words, get real. If this does not happen, the future looks even more bleak.

Anonymous said...

... and the other Tepco will be able to make profits out of its captive customers and Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, until that blows up too.
Splitting companies into a profitable entity and an unprofitable one (see GM) is a legal trick to bypass bankruptcy laws and shift losses to whoever gets stuck with the "bad" company. In other words, a scam.

Anonymous said...

One problem with the workers is that Tepco can't use them anymore after they have taken their 100mSv dose, nor Tepco wants to get stuck with granting them perpetual health checks and indemnities if they get cancer, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Tepco found that radiation close to one of the water tanks is 69.9 mSv/hr. If a worker stays there for 1.5hrs he becomes good for retirement.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 8:43AM, by now you must be aware that the radiation there is beta, not gamma. Gamma radiation is 'only' 0.1mSv/hr. If you are aware, you're fear-mongering. If you are not aware, educate yourself.

Anonymous said...

@2:51 Are you saying that it is perfectly ok to get exposed to 70 mSv/hr or are you saying that it is easier to protect yourself from beta rather than from gamma?

Anonymous said...

By the way, if radiation nearby all tanks is 0.1 mSv/hr it takes 6 months of patrolling to total your 100 mSv and be out of your job (and start waiting to see whether you get on the cancer statistics).

Post a Comment