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Bungling, cover-ups define TEPCO

21 Comments
By Yuri Kageyama

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21 Comments
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No revelations here. Cover-ups has been the M.O. for Japanese industry since the dawn of time(although the stakes are higher in this case). The question is will things ever change? Hopeful but doubtful.

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TEPCO did not act alone. Check the whistleblowers accounts of the falsification of data and re-numbering of reator parts, sub-standard construction and cost-cutting compromises with the manufacturers of these reactors, as well as METI and other regulatory bodies ignoring concerns, for fear it would stop the development of nuclear power in Japan, and affect big profits for the industry. The responsibility can be spread across much of Japanese industry, the former governments, and some totally reprehensive individuals who performed, authorised or approved these actions.

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Thank you for those valuable points wanderlust.

TEPCO would not have been so bold in its reckless behavior (so-called bungling) and coverups if it did not have the power of the nuke-loving LDP government behind it. Blame can also be passed around to so-called experts--including those from academia-- who for years negated the dangers of nuclear power, remained silent to TEPCO's abuses and today have downplayed the severity of the current nuclear crisis.

With the DPJ we have seen considerable government dishonesty with regard to the Fukushima--until called to account by the international community.

The reactors would have been buried by now if this government was not hamstrung by the powers of capitalism and the bureaucracy.

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"The country has 54 nuclear plants, which provide 30% of the nation’s energy needs..."

Semantics can have massive effect, and so, I wish people would be more careful. Nuclear power does not supply 30 percent of Japan's needs. It supplies 30 percent of Japan's wants. If the country actually used only what it needs, few of those nuke plants would be necessary, and building new ones would seem as ridiculous as it truly is.

Japan is rich in geothermal potential, and it should be focused on instead. The only trouble is, I think, that not enough greedy government and businessman types have realized that its not easy or cheap and there is plenty of profit to be made in construction and maintenance.

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I am just so sick of TEPCO. World investors have a power to let them go bankrupt. We will pull all money from TEPCO. Hung them dry. The President and VP are the biggest criminals in humanity.

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'They need to study at the onset what are the possible scenarios that might happen in about five stages and then figure out what the response should be.”'--

Yes, exactly. Why aren't they telling us about the protocol for such a crisis?! It would be really helpful to know what the different possible scenarios are, what precautions should be taken for each one and when then whole thing is expected to finish. Right now, the news is just the same every day. 'We are trying to cool the reactors...blah, blah, blah...' I want to hear practical & logical information and probabilities not just a lot of possibly's and maybe's. Please don't treat your citizens like they are stupid. Give us the accurate information and we can make our own decisions. Leaving us in the dark is just causing confusion and panic.

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Many things are covered, how to improve business management procedures in compliance to public security and concern may hit the walls ...

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As I have said so many times here, in Japan:

Perception is MORE important than reality!

this applies country wide across everything industry & govt touch!

What I read in my DY this morning about the help in manpower, machinery & supplies to cool these %$%^ing reactors that the US Govt offered & Jpn & tepco refused goes way beyond criminal!!

I have been down on Jpn the last few yrs & this quake,tsunami, nuclear problem may push me beyond what I can stomach, while I dont feel threatened by Fukushima being a couple hundred km away I am just so pissed at the way govt & industry have been screwing us & running the country into the ground I dont know if I can take it anymore, after 20yrs its frustrating to see whats become of this great place Japan.

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The same thing are probably happening or might happen in other countries with nuclear power plants all over the world! Please check YOUR nuclear power plants or make your governments and the nuclear companies enclose ALL information to you, (the citizens of countries with nuclear power plants) right now about the safety of the plants. To my country leaders, I will not allow them to open a nuclear power plant in my country. Period.

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dirisaya - how are you going to stop them?

I've been in Japan almost a year now, and I'm starting to discover the real Japan underneath the hi-tech, playful veneer. The ruthless tactics that are encouraged in the name of being successful are scary. I think the Japanese need to focus on peace and well-being over money and success. Seriously, sacrificing your own people to make an extra dollar does not reflect well upon you.

PS. I am focusing on Japan because that is the context of this article. This behavior is not unique, but I've never seen it so entrenched that it's the norm. It's expected of businessmen to be cutthroat.

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"You're building on a heap of tofu," said Philip White, of Tokyo-based Citizens' Nuclear Information Center"

LOL!

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“I can’t believe them,” said Taketo Kuga, a cab driver in Tokyo.

Wow! TEPCO outed by...wait for it...wait for it...a taxi driver! You'd think it would be a nuclear expert, but no, it's just a taxi driver.

When the media smells blood in the water, truth goes out the window.

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THere's nothing inherently wrong with Nuclear Power - aside from the fact that it's dangerous and requires very high control, training, and discipline to operate. THe San Onofre Nuclear power plant near San DIego has been operating from 1968-1984 (depending on which site commissioned. Site 1 was shut down in 1992. Despite safety fears - the site has operated continuously without major incident - and California is also a major earthquake prone state - although nothing close to the 9.0 in Japan...yet.

The problem with Fukushima is a mixture of incompetence, fraud, and corruption combined during a major disaster to create another potentially significant disaster. As the news reports - this occurs because of collusion between regulatory officials, politicians, and company officials - but this is part of Japan's political and industrial culture. Calling for changes is ludicrous as it's akin to asking for self policing - which is what lead to this snafu.

On top of that is the international nuclear regulatory committee. Truly, the only way to truly and effectively monitor these guys is put them on real-time video - tne Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant blog and streaming video site...so the public can track their performance while on the job - ESPECIALLY THE MANAGEMENT. Employees only follow orders - and frequently don't know how changes in procedure might affect a complicated system. Managers however don't particularly care and are more concerned with lowering operating costs to razor thin at the expense of safety.

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Nice post seaforte03

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Nice post seaforte03, from me too.

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One thing I would like to point out.

New York lies on one of the biggest fault-lines that the USA has and HALF it's energy comes from Nuclear Power.

Also check the normal background radiation levels there and in Denver, etc vs Tokyo.

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Zenny, what do you mean rediation levels in Denver? Bad or worse? Please let me know. Thanks.

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RE : globalwatcher

Denver = higher elevation = more background radiation

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One of the first whistleblowers, Tatsuya Tanaka, personally involved in the fabrication and falsification of manufacturing and safety data contacted his publisher a few days ago, and they will reprint his 1990 book called “Why Nuclear Power Is Dangerous” that detailed his experiences. However, whether the oyajis who still rule these companies and ministries will really do anything substantial to improve safety and risk is something else."

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The oyajis ruling TEPCO are the Homer Simpsons of Japan. The history of TEPCO coverups is also largely a history of avoidable screw-ups. Like hand-mixing uranium in stainless steal buckets. In a situation comedy or cartoon that would be thrown out as slapstick too low for all but the cognitively challenged viewer.

The Homer Simpson factor is always a clear and present danger in nuclear power generation--it was a screwed up experiment that gave us the Chernobyl disaster--but if this article is accurate it would seem that Japan's nuclear industry is one big Homer Simpson.

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Japan Prime Minister Assures IAEA Chief of Increased Information Exchange

One solution to the problem;

International Atomic Energy Agency should start thinking about setting up a website for whistle blowers (unanimous) reporting unsafe business practice without going through government officials. Without this system, I am afraid Japan will go back to a square one like it used to be. I hope someone from IAEA reads my suggestion.

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