Friday, April 22, 2011

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: The Numbers Don't Add Up

Among many numbers that don't seem to add up that TEPCO and the national government have announced ever since the plant accident, I just noticed the most glaring one: the number of workers at the plant.

Currently, there are supposedly about 500 or so workers from TEPCO, TEPCO's affiliated companies (Toshiba, Hitachi who built reactors, Kandenko whose largest shareholder is TEPCO, etc.) and their subcontractors to the 3rd or 4th degree at Fukushima I Nuke Plant trying to somehow control the reactors, Spent Fuel Pools, contaminated water. The plant is still in crisis, nothing has materially changed.

But the plant, in peacetime, had 4,000 to 5,000 workers. There were 5,000 workers at Fukushima I, including affiliated company employees and subcontractors, when the earthquake hit on March 11.

Now, even in peacetime, it takes 5,000 workers to run the plant. And in crisis, you have only 500 workers?

One of the most glaring omissions in TEPCO's "roadmap" was any mention of manpower. Another one is the cost. Another one is the relationship of the dependent projects. At this point, TEPCO doesn't quite think about cost cutting.

I thought the critical thing is to somehow lower the radiation level so that the workers can go in, but maybe I was wrong. The most critical thing may be to secure the workers who can go in.


netudiant said...

Getting the workers is surely the critical issue already and will become even more so as the plant gradually floods with very radioactive water.
People who are both sufficiently understanding to know what to do in this extraordinary situation and who have the local knowledge to implement that understanding correctly are very few.
So TEPCOs approach, to build water treatment plants and a large containment shed, try to stabilize the situation and then do a quarter century cleanup may be the only option available.
Just pray nothing serious breaks in the interim.

Anonymous said...

TEPCO is running a stabilization operation.

At this time, stabilization consists mainly of waiting for the site to cool down enough for dismantlement, while (listed in the order of priorities)

a. monitoring the site
b. addressing crisis situations as needed and
c. trying to prevent further damage.

A large team on site is not needed nor indeed desirable, as more people would only increase the risk of fatal accidents and PR fallout, while contributing little to the actual tasks at hand.

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