Thursday, June 20, 2013

#Nuclear Japan: Minister of Economy Declares (Again) Nuke Plant Researt in Fall, NRA Self-Congratulates on Its "World Toughest Safety Standard"

The minister who also ordered Fukushima decommissioning to be done "ahead of schedule" says nuclear power plants will be restarted in fall, and that it will be up to the NRA to decide. He said the same thing back in April. I guess he subscribes to the idea that if you keep repeating it it will happen.

How a group of paltry 80 people at Japan's Nuclear Regulatory Authority/Agency can adequately assess the safety of nuclear power plants in less than 3 months is a mystery to me. One of the NRA's commissioners said it will take about six months (even that looks short), but he was thinking of inspecting only a few nuclear plants.

Nuke plant operators are set to flood the NRA with requests for restart. Here's Hokkaido Electric Power Company submitting restart requests for all three reactors. Good luck, NRA. You asked for it.

Jiji Tsushin (6/20/2013) reports:


Minister of Economy Motegi says nuclear plant restart will be as early as this fall


Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshimitsu Motegi said in the evening of June 20 during the recording of a BS-TBS TV program that the restart of nuclear power plants under the new regulatory standard that will become effective on July 8 will be "in the fall at the earliest. It could be in winter. It's up to the NRA to decide." The earliest restart may be this fall, according to him.

I just can't help laughing at the station name. I know "BS" stands for "broadcast satellite", but to me "BS" stands for "BS", you know. (It is not Bachelor of Science either.)

By the way, NRA is very proud that it has managed to create, at least in their minds, the toughest safety standard for nuclear power plants in the world, in less than 10 months since the establishment of the organization. I don't know what basis the chairman and commissioners claim their standard to be the world toughest. I guess non-experts like us are supposed to take their words for it.

From Jiji (6//19/2013):


New standard "exactly what we intended", says NRA chairman Tanaka


NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said during the regular press conference on June 19 that the new regulatory standard for nuclear power plant that was decided on that day was "exactly what we intended, as we have been doing our best to come up with the toughest standard in the world. The true test of the new standard will come when we actually apply it."


Chairman Tanaka said, "We are told by people around the world that what's missing most [in Japan] is not just standards written down on paper but the safety culture." "The safety culture cannot be built overnight, but as the tough new standard is being enforced, I hope nuclear plant operators will learn that things may not work out the way they want, and they will experience what it is to be safe", Tanaka said.

Good luck with your "hope", Dr. Tanaka. Don't you know "hope" has been a dirty 4-letter word? Besides, I thought all Japan had before the Fukushima I Nuke Plant accident was the safety culture - plant operators, regulators, and nuclear experts felt so safe that they decided not to think about anything bad, like a nuclear accident or 10-meter high tsunami.

The "world toughest safety standard" for nuclear power plants in Japan will become effective as of July 8, 2013, "ahead of schedule". The original schedule was July 18, 2013. To officially have this new standard 10 days earlier than planned is for some unknown reason considered a good thing.

Ever since LDP took back power under the prime minister with chronic stomach ailment, "ahead of schedule" seems to be in vogue.

So that they can all run to the toilet, I suppose, with Prime Minister Abe at the head of the pack.


Anonymous said...

Just about every country in the world claims to have the toughest safety standards. It's all meaningless, even if it were true, since the aspect of human error (stupidity, carelessness, ignorance, etc.) cannot be ruled out anywhere. We see evidence of that nearly daily.

Anonymous said...

No, France's EdF never claimed more than a high level of expertise, and they have long been scrutinized and criticized for subcontracting, lack of information and over-confidence (let's say hunt for cost cuts).

They rely on a very powerfull lobbying and classified information. They keep a very low profile and never boasted about safety.

Whenas here it looks like a puppet show.

Anonymous said...

"The world toughest standard" cannot protect the nuclear power plants from natural disasters.

Neither the toughness of the standard nor the quality of construction can win the forces of Mother Nature. It was the Japanese government and TEPCO themselves who blamed the "beyond expectation tsunami and earthquakes" for causing the Fukushima nuclear disaster! How convenient short memory they have...

Besides, "the world toughest standard" is completely useless in the country where there is no enforcement mechanism. Japan has shown to the world that its leaders have no willpower to enforce the safety laws. The fact that no TEPCO executives are in a jail speaks for itself.

Anonymous said...

Ex-SKF - Do you know how many people have left Japan due to the nuclear crisis?

Or do you know where I can find this statistic?

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

In Japanese foreigners are called "gaijin": "gai" means "external" and "jin" means "person". In the aftermath of the crisis foreigners were also dubbed as "flyjin" (fly rhymes with gai) as many flew out of the country.

I guess the foreigners were having access to more objective sources of information than the Japanese... more objective than Edano "no immediated risk for health", for example.

Statistics on how many people left (for good rather than for just one or two months) will give a picture of people's perception of the risks, which in turn depends on their sources of information.

Anonymous said...

Gaikokujin, please.
Gaijin is only a notch more polite than calling Japanese people Japs.

Anonymous said...

Well unless a child tells you "Gaijin san ! etc..."
This is not rude.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but the Japanese call the foreigners "gaijin" -- like it or not.
Just like the US immigration office calls me "alien" -- like it or not.

As a foreigner in Japan, depending on context, I am usually fine with the shortened form of gaikokujin, sometimes even proud. Gaijin-san or gaijin-sama (!) are also ok. At other times I demand gaikokujin or even gaikoku no kata. Depends on context.

By the way, have you ever tried referring to your country of origin as "waga kuni" (Our Country)?

Anonymous said...

World Toughest Safety Standard isn't saying much when everyone's standards for safety are bottom bin utter rubbish.

Anonymous said...

He he, I just say o kuni or watashi no kuni.
Waga kuni has a strong nationalist overtone, hasn't it? Tell me what you have in mind.

Yes the context is all about it. I marked gaikokujin to a Japanese lady friend to my wife, she smiled and was rather pleased with that.

I work with Japanese people abroad, we visit them when we go to Japan, so I don't care much.
I've be once pointed to as an immigrant (in english) and I laughed at the Japanese man telling him I really had no idea of settling in Japan.
Typical question by ladies here in the taxi from the airport : "kuro-chan daijobu ?"

Anonymous said...

O-kuni is honorific and hence indicates the listener's country, not your own.

Waga-kuni (literally Our Country, compare to waga-ya) referred to your country gives the Japanese a little of a cultural shock: asking to be called gaikokujin is just to ask for your rights, calling your country waga-kuni is like stealing a brand name.

I wish I were British so I could proudly refer to the Queen as "waga kuni no tenno"....

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