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Japan balked at steps to control Fukushima water in 2011, memo shows

46 Comments
By Mari Saito

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So basically TEPCO was told long in advance about this problem, but they choose to ignore it so they wouldn't have to pay for the construction of this barrier. They waited until it became a crisis and knew the gov't would have to step in to help solve the problem. Voila, half a billion dollars are sent to TEPCO to solve a two year old problem! How is the gov't allowing these jokers to stay in charge of anything is beyond me!

22 ( +23 / -1 )

Typically Japanese behaviour: don't accept critics from the outside except if problem arises.

18 ( +21 / -3 )

Again and again, this company learns nothing, its executives should be in jail, onsite doing manual labour and should give up their home for some of the still displaced thousands and thousands.

It is just disgusting that it should so blatantly be allowed to continue, again risking all of our lives and the well being of the country because they are worried about the bottom line... thats how we got here to start with.

Abe, do the right thing, close these people down NOW, because when they start removing rods, which must be done, there can be no cutting corners or worrying about budget.

21 ( +21 / -0 )

So they hither and thither in a state of confusion. What have they done in the last two and a half years? Nothing.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

They were told, they ignored the advice, now act surprised. Tax payers pay. JFC

8 ( +8 / -0 )

A memo prepared by TEPCO and submitted to Japanese officials in June 2011 said the cost of building a barrier wall to contain groundwater would have risked rattling investor confidence.

There's the proof out of the horse's mouth (as if we didn't already know): money first, safety and responsibility second. Shameful, again and again and again.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

I am wondering why J-Gov and TEPCO reveal now these old hidden facts? I suspect it is to prepare the population to a much worse announcement soon, e.g. corium status, ...

12 ( +13 / -1 )

One answer fits all situations in Japan.

This is most " regretable" but I'm sure they will " sincerely reflect on the situation", "collect all relevant information swiftly " and "take appropriate action speedily ".

Rectums.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

(In July, TEPCO reversed months of denials and admitted that 300 tons of groundwater that has mixed with radioactive material may be flowing out to the sea every day.) So over 273,750 tons of contaminated water has been dumped into the Pacific Ocean? Tokyo is safe? Really?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Wow, TEPCO does it again! Seriously, get rid of these guys.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Further evidence that TEPCO heads, politicians and top regulators should be prosecuted for criminal negligence as they purposefully disregarded the lives and the livelihoods of people they are charged to protect and service.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

In any other developed country this would have attracted criminal charges. Here they just get a bonus. Should have let the Yaks handle the whole shebang, they appear better organised then the Govt.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Yes - one post fits all 'Nipporinoel'. Seems you are good at pasting posts in numerous articles

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

It's hard to believe (mind boggling actually) that anyone gave any credence whatsoever to the notion that TEPCO's solvency had even the slightest relevance. That's pretty much inexcusable and quite discouraging. It's similar to (though due to impact, significantly worse than) the shameless, self absorbed, irresponsible behavior exhibited by the Wall Street creeps. Who also are all running around free...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

wilful negligence is a crime

6 ( +7 / -1 )

See nothing hear no evil. Summarizes Japanese attitude perfectly.

If TEPCO says 300 tons of water are leaking, then be assured it's probably 10 times worse. These guys never told any truth from day one.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

No need to worry though, because the prime minister of Japan says everything is under control...

5 ( +6 / -1 )

From day one, TEPCO have prioritised their profit above common sence above safety above containing the problem. And they continue to do so. Had the government taken control, probably be sadly in the same mess. There does not appear to be any ministry, body capable in Japan of dealing with this mess proactively. That is sad. And speaks volumes about the future or lack there of.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Classic TEPCO! Shelve warnings and suggestions, and later let the apologists like Barrett come in and suggest everything was 'unprecedented'. They were warned, and given proof, countless times about such a tsunami, but didn't build the wall because it might 'cost too much'. And now we are pouring countless amounts of taxpayers' money towards them so they can get back in the black and avoid paying off compensation?

This is truly unbelievable. Only in Japan would a company like TEPCO be allowed to continue like this for so long and actually be REWARDED with bailouts.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Well, I said it before but this is just more evidence that the first thing the gov't should have done was to seize the company, shred the existing ownership stock, sell new stock to finance the cleanup and throw everyone of "Director" or higher rank in jail.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The funny thing... no one is focusing on the fact they have ZERO idea how to contain the reactors. They are still just MOLTEN blogs of the radioactive core being kept cool by hundreds of tons of water a day. ZERO plans have been put forth as to what the next step is. The whole leaking water thing is sooooooooooooooo the tip of the ice burg it isnt even funny.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Why is no one in jail?

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) successfully lobbied against a proposed barrier wall because the cost could have stirred speculation it would be driven into bankruptcy.

A TEPCO spokesman said there had been concerns about the feasibility of the proposal to block the flow of water into the reactors, as well as the impact on fragile investor confidence.

This is PURE putting a small minority (shareholders) values over the great population and a prime example of profit before people. They were more concerned about keeping their jobs than anything else.

Disgusting!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If i weren't living in Japan, this would be comical.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

don't worry, there will be plenty of " accidents" into the future when water has to be spilled into the Pacific ocrean.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

No surprises here, standard operating procedure by Tepco, IGNORE BEST ADVICE put head down and carry on regardless of glaringly obvious danger.

Jail these R soles for public endangerment at the very least.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

gogogo:

" This is PURE putting a small minority (shareholders) values over the great population and a prime example of profit before people. They were more concerned about keeping their jobs than anything else. "

That is a nonsensical claim. Think! The shareholders got trashed anyway. But if the company goes bankrupt, everybody loses, the shareholders as well as the victims to be compensated. The question is how much of your taxpayer`s money you want the government to spend for a huge project with dubious benefits. You would be screaming and lambasting the government now if they did that.

As the article points out, they considered diverting inflowing groundwater early on, but this was impossible because of the hysterical reaction by the anti-nuclear crowd. So, if you want to see the reason for the current problem, look in the mirror.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

Investor confidence? Bankruptcy? Neither of these factors should come into the equation! Once again we see economics taking precedence over environment. I've said many times before, the cost of this clean up should irrelevant and the government should have kicked these penny-pinching mullets in the kaiba long ago. This is not the first time that TEPCO and the J-Gov have ignored international recommendations on nuclear safety and, I'm sure it won't be the last.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

TEPCO: When even people in the Midwest think badly of you, it's time for others to take over.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

TEPCO; a model example of corporate responsibility, open to all opinions and recommendations. They should teach business ethics courses: A-always B-be C-corrupting

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Pure utter insanity!

That the govt & tepco put shareholders above the country & its peoples is so fracking beyond the pale.

But it REALLY shows what utter contempt authorities have for the general population here, I have always seen it, but this example is beyond brutal in its disregard

I think the technical term for tepco & j-govt is ""$%@# for brains""

8 ( +8 / -0 )

As the article points out, they considered diverting inflowing groundwater early on, but this was impossible because of the hysterical reaction by the anti-nuclear crowd. So, if you want to see the reason for the current problem, look in the mirror.

This is wrong, they ignored it because it wasn't a problem at the time. There was no waste water issue 2 months into the problem therefore no "hysterical reaction by the anti-nuclear crowd". The article even say:

"were urged two years ago by U.S. experts to take immediate steps to prevent groundwater contamination but decided not to act on the advice."

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I don't understand why on earth anyone is surprised by this! Woefully predictable, and somehow the story didn't get out for 2.5 years...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

TEPCO: Have they no shame?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What is next? Where are tepcos supporters telling us that they know better? This has been an ongoing travesty . Disgust is not a word that conveys the abonamation that is unfolding.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Everyone is blaming TEPCO, TEPCO! Me not anymore!!!

Why? Because they are corporation - private company - the reason for the world economic crises right now!

They would defend their investors and do not care about people or state. They would bankrupt but get covered by the state.

The big fault is at the government here! And if until now I had some sympathy to Kan and Minshuto for having bad luck - no more!!! They were terrible - not for what they did, but for what they didn't do. Not incompetence but no will to help the nation and ordinary people - just defending the corporate interest.

And this will continue till people rise because it is not bearable. Unfortunately it wouldn't happen soon...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I am not taking a stance either-way on this, and I am not proclaiming my beliefs about it. However...I have often read (particularly recently) factual documentgs about Japan's LDP Party historically knowing about, and consenting by written Agreement to, the US Military storing nuclear bombs in various locations around Japan, Okinawa, and outer islands. Further, I have read that Japanese and American governments colluded to transport and store nuclear matter and wastes at Fukushima for decades. I have read documents that indicate Japanese companies have been hired by the governments of Japan and USA to manufacture nuclear weapons parts and components at their factories in mainland Japan. I have read that Japanese government officials admitted to having so much nuclear fissile matter that they could easily create up to 3000 nuclear warheads within 24-hours of an emergency-need occuring. I have read that Japan's space program (JAXA, JRANSA, etc.) is really just a cover for their testing of Rocket technologies for lofting these warheads into international airspaces. Further, I have recently read that not only has Japan continued forward with their Nuclear Weapons Programs at break-neck speed, that it has produced so much weapons-grade Plutonium at Fukushima (combined home-grown and USA-provided) that when the Tsunami hit, this is the reason that there is so much devastation at Daiichi...and the reason that Japan's government refuses to allow any significant foreign corporate involvement in the Fukushima environmental remediation efforts. Of course Japan's government has consistently denied all of these facts for decades (since Nixon and PM-Sato Eisaku first signed the Agreement which traded the Okinawan land back to the Japanese in exchange for future rights to continue storing nuclear armaments in Japan) because it flies in the face of Japan's Constitution. My question is...do any of the Japanese people care? Do Japanese people ever read this JapanToday news and comments, or is only the Ex-Pats in Japan and those foreigners that have ties to Japan that read it? Do Japanese people ever investigate this info through Internet Google Searches, and then question their government on it? Do the Japanese people really want to remain a nuclear-free country, or is it all just a convenient ruse? What are your thoughts?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I would avoid eating EVERYTHING that comes from a ocean!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

http://youtu.be/dfaPhmFGvt8<

If you want to see something very relevant to this whole situation. Listen to what Japanese farmers had to say to the Japanese Govt. officials about this entire mess. It is in Japanese but with good sub titles.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

http://youtu.be/dfaPhmFGvt8

I think there was a mark at the end that did not belong. Sorry.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm learning so much about Japan, it's ppl and system from you guys. Can't say I'm pleased. In fact it now scares me having my kids living there for next 3 or more years.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

A copy of the memo was reviewed by Reuters. TEPCO confirmed its authenticity. The existence of the memo was reported by the Asahi newspaper on Wednesday. The NRC consultations have not previously been detailed.

I read the original Article by Asahi on Sept 18. According to the article, it was Mr. Mabuchi who led the project to build underground walls to contain underground water. There was no mention of US NRC in Asahi article.

The group consulted with the NRC's hydrology team, records reviewed by Reuters show. In a May 11, 2011 memo, the U.S. experts urged TEPCO to develop a longer term "groundwater monitoring and remediation strategy".

Specifically, they said the utility should build first near the high ground above the reactors and start pumping out groundwater before it could reach the site. Such a strategy would "assure that contaminated groundwater is contained", the memo said.

OK. So, US NCR people advised to pump out ground water rather than building underground walls. But, if they do that, isn't it probable that highly contaminated water may flow from underneath the NPP to the pumping site just to expand the contamination of underground water? In addition, isn't it probable that the NPP buildings would sink unevenly due to loss of ground water underneath?

Actually, TEPCO did make a lot of pumping wells on high ground as NRC suggested, only to find contamination in the ground water. http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/tritium-levels-spike-at-fukushima-nuclear-plant The strategy will not work since TEPCO cannot release the pumped ground water and it cannot accumulate 1000 tons of ground water everyday for decades in tanks. Thanks for the advice!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

" His Liberal Democratic Party was not in power at the time of the disaster." What is the relevance of this? His Liberal Democratic Party Promoted the Japanese nuclear programme and has always been a principal part of the nuclear village. I don't think anyone is blaming the DPJ for the tsunami, but I don't think they can blamed for the series of errors and shortcuts taken that led to the disaster at Fukushima. However, it seems that the LDP should share the blame with TEPCO.

It also seems that Japan too often refuses from help and advice, at least initially, even if it means sacrificing lives. The Kobe earthquake and Gumma air crash are cases that immediately spring to mind.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Protecting corporate interests before dealing a problem that is likely to blight Japan for centuries if not dealt with properly, utterly shocking. The government need to get a grip on this.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The faillure to react to the risk for fear of hurting TEPCO's finances are incredibly disturbing - a nation could be put at risk to protect the financial welfare of shareholders. Makes you question whether private companies have any role in owning nuclear power stations.

To students of Japan, TEPCO's and the government's reaction to the disaster are fascinating, as well as frightening.

Parrallels to the 1985 Boeing air crash, when it took 15 hours for rescuers to reach the scene, due to operational paralysis.

To Kobe 1995, where the government of one of the world's most earthquake prone countries barely knew how to react, and ended relying on yakuza to administer relief.

Sadly, I really do not think that Japan can change - these things will happen again and again.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Typically Japanese behaviour: don't accept critics from the outside except if problem arises"

Good point. This behavior isnt unique to Tepco; its widespread throughout Japan. I was watching a documentary on Japanese TV about Fukushima and Kans behavior. The NRC asked to help, but the J gov said that Americans could not help as they couldnt understand Japan nuclear technology as it was 30 years more advanced than the U.S. This is puzzeling because I thought the reactors were built by GE, Westinghouse/Toshiba. Kan then proceeded to use the Heli Hose solution as he could show the U.S. "see, we are doing something about it" A country 30 years more advanced uses the Heli Hose comedy solution to a meltdown, discrediting yourself on international TV.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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