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New report shows early chaos at Fukushima plant

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It said plant workers had a disaster drill just a week before the tsunami

What type of Disaster Drill did they have and were contract workers educated in what to do in a crisis.

workers were tasked with releasing pressure from No. 1’s containment vessel to avoid an explosion.

first they had to get the manual, which was not in the control room but in a separate office building at the plant

They had to FIND the manual? A systems operation MANUAL, should be in the same area as the equipment.

To activate an air-operated part of the vent, workers had to borrow a compressor from a contractor. And the workers who had to get close to the unit for the venting had to get protective gear from the offsite crisis management center, 5 kilometers away from the plant.

Borrow A Compressor? Go Offsite to get protective Gear?

It took an hour just to put on air tanks, coveralls and face masks before the first two workers headed for the reactor building

HOW can you have a Disaster DRILL with NO protective Gear on hand. A Drill is enacted to increase efficiency in an emergency situation and donning protective gear should be apart of the Drill.

workers borrowed batteries and cables from a subcontractor on the compound to set up a backup system to gauge water levels and other key readings

TEPCO doesn't have a supply room ? The workers had to borrow a Compressor, Batteries, Cables etc.

This article is telling it like it is. Those employees were not given drills or they would have known what to do when the power goes out and they would have AT least had an operations Manual nearby.

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I read an account of a worker trying to flee the impending tsunami in his car and being confronted by a security guard insisting he and others in line follow the proper protocol to leave the plant. This guy basically told the guard he was an idiot and to get the hell out of the way. "Don't you realize there's a tsunami coming?" he asked him.

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It is easy to blame the workers for their ineptitude (as many here have done on JT) but statements such as:

And the workers who had to get close to the unit for the venting had to get protective gear from the offsite crisis management center, 5 kilometers away from the plant.

and

But first they had to get the manual, which was not in the control room but in a separate office building at the plant.

show that the TEPCO management bears responsibility for this. And none of this is surprising as many (all?) of the top managers were "amakudari." Could this be the beginning of the end of amakudari?

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And none of this is surprising as many (all?) of the top managers were "amakudari." Could this be the beginning of the end of amakudari?

Godan - do you want me to break it to you gently, or all at once?

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This article is telling it like it is

Utrack -- agreed. This is pretty damming stuff. But we are all supposed to believe that all the rest of the plants are safe and have put in place adequate crisis/disaster procedures. So it is safe to crank them all back up to full capacity. Pardon my skepticism, but I find it hard to believe that 30 years of the kind of inattention and lack of preparedness has been solved in three months. Amazing that a country so world-renowned for supposed planning and attention to details skills continues to be un-masked as totally the opposite -- inept and un-prepared. But those of us who have lived for long periods in Japan knew that already.

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ROTFL - horsefella!

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@ Godan

Exactly, TEPCO's (Management) bears responsibility for this.

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workers had to bring protective gear and an emergency manual from distant buildings and borrow equipment from a contractor.

Distant, in the forests to the west, where Orcs dwell.

And the workers who had to get close to the unit for the venting had to get protective gear from the offsite crisis management center, 5 kilometers away from the plant.

...

But first they had to get the manual, which was not in the control room but in a separate office building at the plant. Aftershocks struck as they retrieved it.

Sounds like a real life RPG. The Legend of TEPCO.

It said plant workers had a disaster drill just a week before the tsunami and “everyone was familiar with emergency exits,” but it apparently did not help them cope with the crisis.

Yeah, because when there's an emergency and work needs to be done by the people working there, the best thing to do... is run away.

Plus10 AP for you, hero.

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Japanese people love to memorize things, so why did they need the manual?

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"early chaos?" As distinguished from what we have now, late chaos?

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If this is not enough evidence to shut down TEPCO - and jail a good deal of the staff - I don't know what is. Let's wait to see what the independent report says: it will likely be far more damning than this report written by TEPCO themselves.

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This is worse than negligent, it's more than incompetent. It shows a general disregard for the painful reality that these plants are volcano-like structures that if disturbed enough can and will explode, sending radioactive debris from their cores far and wide. Sadly, I doubt most other plants have had the time to get better prepared, nor will their budget cover eventualities like this. As others say, if you live in Japan, you learn the preparedness is just a myth- people are focused only on the day, even what they are doing that hour. Bring up anything deeper and you get a blank, sometimes annoyed stare.

Japan should be pouring resources into containing and fixing this, rather than trying to downplay one of the worst nuclear disasters in history. They should be taking seriously the need to safeguard the other plants. Yet still the evading of responsibility and playing the victim continues. I'mn even half-wondering if I should believe all this, but it does sound that with better preparation and more realism a lot of this could have been avoided.

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It actually gets worse...this story is about day 1. How often in the last 3 months has it been repeated, yesterday appears to have been another mess.

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I really hate to say that - but I do not think that it would have worked out differently at any other nuclear power plant. Worldwide...

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Government reports released this month said... the radiation that leaked into the air amounted to about one-sixth of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986—double previous estimates.

Love the way they put this in the past tense - like it's not still spewing out radiation as we sit in front of our respective computers. I understood the amount leaked in the first week was 1/6 of the Chernobyl estimated release. Perhaps they could give us weekly updates ... they can't? Oh, sorry, just curious... And these clowns want us to believe that in two weeks, they've checked all the reactors in the country and found them safe to start. The only problem is those pesky 'concerns', 'fears' and 'rumours' that keep circulating. Safety Japan e Yokoso!!!

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What a complete foobar. Those poor subcontractors...And of course we have to wonder seriously how many other of Japan's 54-odd nuclear plants are in the same situation....and the rest of the world???? If there was ever a wake-up call to the danger of nukes, baby, what else do you need? So distressing.

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I just think it's so sad and pathetic that the secrecy-crazed soviets will probably, in retrospect after the Fukushima disaster is done, be seen to have done a much more open, honest, and diligent effort in their handling of the Chernobyl disaster than what's going on in Japan right now.

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If TEPCO, et al had had a better understanding of the situation, so much of this disaster would have been avoided.

They did not, and it was not.

The irony here is that the idiots who got us into this mess are the ones we are relying on to get us out of it... WE should demand someone else take over.

They WERE NOT THEN, and ARE NOT NOW up to the challenge.

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I just think it's so sad and pathetic that the secrecy-crazed soviets will probably, in retrospect after the Fukushima disaster is done, be seen to have done a much more open, honest, and diligent effort in their handling of the Chernobyl disaster than what's going on in Japan right now.

Interesting point. I just watched a documentary on that, and the parallels with Fukushima are really interesting. One point that really struck me is that they mobilised half a million people, including ancillary workers, to work on the cleanup. Meanwhile TEPCO flip flops about. The other is that according to Gorbachev, they wanted to report exactly what happened to the IAEA, to serve as a way of learning from the disaster. The IAEA did a behind closed doors hearing and gave a sanitised version of events to the world, that they obviously hoped wouldn't put people around the world off nuclear power to much. The Soviet scientist who tried to report to the IAEA, but was sidelined, subsequently committed suicide.

Japan is outdoing itself in its secrecy, go-it-alone gung-ho bumbling, and plain criminal lies. When, oh when will people here stand up and demand 100% truth, immediately?

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