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TEPCO report admits flaws worsened crisis; denies plan to pull out staff

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“We must admit that our tsunami anticipation was too optimistic, and our insufficient preparations for a tsunami were the fundamental cause of the accident,” Yamazaki told a news conference.

Sorry, but all the apologies and bows in the world won't make up for years, decades, of putting profit before the public's safety. Japan Inc. was demanding cheap power and TEPCO, the politicos, and the bureaucrats did whatever they needed to do to provide it, including risking the very lives of the public they are supposed to serve. The blind allegiance of the Japanese public to Japan Inc. has come back to bite it -- hard.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Basically, after the start of the 3/11 nuclear disaster, with the No1 reactor going into meltdown on the first day, was a case of chaos, mismanagement, misinformation, and maybe even mistruths by both TEPCO and the gov't. The drills had been held every year for decades but when the time came they failed. If it was for the actions of the plant manager, Yoshida, the disaster would have been worse, much worse.

Once a nuclear disaster was declared by the PM, the evacuation of the people should have started immediately. Both TEPCO and the gov't should have gone into action like a well trained dog.

The people living near the NPP got no info, even when ordered to evacuate, even with some of them being sent into areas with clouds of deadly levels of radiation. More than 100 died just being evacuated, not from radiation I must add, but from heart attacks and stress.

And to think, it could have all been avoided had there been sufficient safety standards at the NPP which would have been a whole lot cheaper than what it's going to cost now.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

The operator of the Japanese nuclear plant devastated by last year’s tsunami issued a final report on the nuclear disaster Wednesday, outlining organizational and communication problems that have not yet been resolved.

Final report? Me thinks that this is just the first of many final reports that TEPCO will be issuing as people read through it and find errors and question missing (hidden) information, that will come to light eventually, they are going to be busy issuing additions to it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Whether or not they intended to abandon the plant in the middle of a meltdown, they were terribly unprepared, and seems to have not had enough food to feed all the staff in an emergency. Some evacuations made sense, but if they did intend to pull all the staff, they are criminally insane! The entire island and miles of ocean all around would have been irreparably contaminated, as hydrogen explosions would destroy an already weakened building. @Onniyama, did you get to see all 3 photos i posted in the old protest photo news article a week ago? Leave me a message there, i'll be checking.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I believe in TEPCO, Santaclaus, Easter bunny, and Godzilla

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Yesterday I read a long report on Fukushima from the Nuclear Energy Institute. http://www.nei.org/resourcesandstats/documentlibrary/safetyandsecurity/reports/special-report-on-the-nuclear-accident-at-the-fukushima-daiichi-nuclear-power-station

Also the investigation and report by Dr Kenichi Ohmae

REPORTS:http://pr.bbt757.com/eng/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And so the distortion of truth continues ...

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The drills had been held every year for decades but when the time came they failed.

Made me smile! We drill at the schools every year for disasters, but when the time came everything in the rule book went out the window! And yet, come the following September, 6 months after the disaster, there we were, practising again, following all the rules, even knowing that most of them dont work in a real emergency, not learning anything from the actual experience! It was a joke!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This morning's Asahi said that they blamed the government and not themselves, but I guess the difference is in the emphasis of the headline.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

TEPCO "denies plan to pull out staff"....

And we should believe them because.............?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

“We must admit that our tsunami anticipation was too optimistic, and our insufficient preparations for a tsunami were the fundamental cause of the accident,” Yamazaki told a news conference."

So no more posts about how this was unprecedented and unpredictable and nothing could have been done about it. They'll got off Scot-free while we pay for the poor workers on the ground to clean up and the execs get paid millions.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The panel said if the premier had not stuck to his guns, Fukushima would have spiralled further out of control, with catastrophic consequences.

I'll say it again, Kan saved alot of lives! Tepco wanted to run away, they are just covering their ass at the moment.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Fact is, this thing is far from over and they are already talking about starting more of these reactors up again. I thought as much when I heard they are going to start two of them to keep Osaka going. That was just for the "nuclear village" to get their foot in the door again.

Watch some of the documentaries on the German TV channel "ZDF" (enter Fukushima in the search) and you will learn that reactor number 4 in Fukushima is just about to fall apart. A halfway decent earthquake can cause it to collapse. The problem with this reactor building is that it contains used-up material, which apparently is much more potent than the live stuff. If this building was to collapse, experts say up to 1/3 of the country (!) might have to be evacuated.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

“We must admit that our tsunami anticipation was too optimistic, and our insufficient preparations for a tsunami were the fundamental cause of the accident,”

You don't say? State the bleeding obvious! Of course they were too optimistic because the tsunami did breach the sea walls.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Another headline I read was "TEPCO lashes Prime Minsters Office".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This series sums it all up rather well: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/kt-hiraoka/fukushima-anniversary_b_1299832.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

One thing is abundantly clear in all this & thats even if emergency or contingency plans are in place, when/if needed .................well just forget about it!

Too many people simply CANT think/act on their feet, they look left, then right, in no TELLS them what to do then its simply silence, stop, hold position, dont say or do anything unless told to do so. Its a trait I see almost every day even in regular work, even with repetitive tasks that have been done for years, still many have to led like a trainee!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is basically a confession:

“We must admit that our tsunami anticipation was too optimistic, and our insufficient preparations for a tsunami were the fundamental cause of the accident,” Yamazaki told a news conference.

And therefore, the fate of any "future operations" referred to below should be decided by the victims of TEPCO's negligence, that is the people of Japan. What presumption!!

“We hope to implement the findings of our investigation in our future operations of the plants,” Yamazaki said.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

adapt or die. darwin dont just apply to people, but also to companies, governments and whole countries.

japan, mired in institutionalised government and corporate incompetance. led by old men who put money above their own populous. a people who have been bred as like lemmings to not buck the WA. the list could go on forever.

i honestly feel sorry for the population of this country. they are trapped by their own culture.

just hope some can one day stand up and draw a line for themselves, rather than relying on those overseas to do it for them.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@ Rhino: reactor number 4 in Fukushima is just about to fall apart. A halfway decent earthquake can cause it to collapse.

I guess you are talking about the spent fuel pool in the reactor building, not about the reactor itself. If the German site states that it is the reactor itself (about to colapse) not the pool, then it doesn't seem to present the information accurately.

Mind you, there has already been a number of "halfway decent" earthquakes in Tohoku after 3/11.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Well as TEPCO has long been known for its honesty, integrity and openness, not too mention it's total commitment to safety even over and above profit, naturally we will accept anything they say as the truth and not as just trying to cover their exposed back end at all cost. [What sarcasm?]

2 ( +3 / -1 )

We all knew that the tsunami expectations were too optimistic and the preparations were insufficient.

The important thing, however, is that TEPCO admits its faults. Further analysis will reveal more of what actually happened and why. Hopefully, this knowledge will be learned from.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

JaneM

Hopefully, this knowledge will be learned from.

But unfortunately, I don't think any of the previous TEPCO board will face any criminal charges.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The truth seems fairly straightforward to me. TEPCO management informs Kan's team of their intentions to pull out to avoid putting the lives of their employees at risk, (indirectly) requesting the Self Defense Force and US army to handle the situation. Kan orders TEPCO to remain at the site, warning in a strong and clear tone that if TEPCO were to pull out it would mean the end of the company. Yoshida-san (head of the plant) informs the TEPCO team at the site that those who wish to leave are welcome to do so, while asking whether there are any volunteers who are willing to remain. About 70 members express their willingness to remain.

To me every party holding different responsibilities did what they had to do and the respective positions taken appear to be fairly understandable. The only discomfort comes from TEPCO in full denial of the verbal communication at the time and putting the full blame on Kan's team. I'm not sure how much economic implications (whether full acknowledgment would invite additional damage lawsuits) there are in the minds of TEPCO but they should understand the further overall credibility damages they are inviting through this complete denial.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I didnt expect to find much self criticism, or a damning indictment of themselves in the findings of an internal investigation. Turkeys dont vote for Christmas.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The No4 spent fuel pool which weights a total of 1,670 tons-container, water, spend and new fuel. No calculation for the debris. the underneath was reinforced with 2 feet thick of concrtete and steel and last week TEPCO placed a steel plate cover over it to prevent further debris entering. I don't know if that increases the overall weight? The pool is also level. Since 3/11, there have been more than 6,000 quakes. TEPCO have stated it won't be able to remove the spent fuel until 2014 because a new building or structure will be needed to be built next to the N04 reactor building which will house a new crane for removing the fuel.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@JaneM: I guess you are talking about the spent fuel pool in the reactor building, not about the reactor itself.

Of course you are right. It`s the reactor building and the spent fuel pool within it that they are referring to. Sorry for not being precise enough.

As to the "halfway decent" earthquake: again, I have to agree with you that we have seen some since 3/11. In the documentary I am referring to they mention the "big one" some scientists seem to be expecting in the coming years. I personally can imagine that even several normal earthquakes with an average strength could shake the foundations of that reactor building enough to cause it to leak or collapse (?).

Here are some links btw:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szGQFhG1zT4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7e1v3XEems

They also exist with English subtitles, but I can`t find them right now. Ex-Prime Minister Naoto Kan is being interviewed during this 2-part doc. You can see why they wanted to get rid of him.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

TEPCO's Final report on the nuclear disaster (in less than 50 words):

TEPCO: "This is what went wrong: 1) Risk of tsunami was underestimated 2) Communication with the PM was insufficient."

TEPCO: "This is what we will do: 1) Safety at the reactors will be improved 2) Communication lines will be improved .....and we will even throw in a 3) Flexibility among plant workers will be fostered."

Oh, okay...

OKじゃねーよ!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In Thailand we have food and water for us every day but in Japan the poor man can not fish ,glow rice ,cow con not eat the grass. How are the children life? No milk . I would like to cry for the Japan crisis . How do Thai people to help Japan?We have rice we have fresh water for Japanese we can not see the hunger in Japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

organizational and communication problems that have not yet been resolved.

More than a year after? That pretty much explains everything, now doesn't it?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Zichi,

I am not well acquanted with the law provisions in such cases. I agree with you that in such cases though those responsible have to be taken to court so that the next generation management will know that they HAVE TO think of the unthinkavle to prevent accidents.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

“We must admit that our tsunami anticipation was too optimistic”

TEPCO knew big tsunami could hit the plants.

TEPCO was warned of possible power loss from tsunami at nuclear plants in 2006, but this warning was ignored. The warning came after the 2004 earthquake off of Sumatra and ensuing tsunami. NISA had been holding information sessions since January 2006 along with the Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization, TEPCO and other utilities. Because the tsunami from the Sumatra quake had forced a reactor-cooling seawater pump at a nuclear plant in India to go offline, effects and countermeasures for Japan's nuclear plants were discussed at the sessions. In August 2006, it was pointed out that a tsunami larger than expected could cause the seawater pump at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant to go offline. However, TEPCO Chairman Katsumata said, "The warning was not transmitted to me, and the executives did not consider countermeasures."

http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20120515p2a00m0na007000c.html

TEPCO made its 2008 assessment based on the premise that an earthquake of the same magnitude as the Meiji Sanriku Earthquake in 1896(M8.3), Jogan Earthquake in 869(M8.4). The assessment was reported to vise president Muto and the plant manager Yoshida. Those two were also told that in order to build a coastal barrier, it would cost 10+billion yen and take 4 years. Muto and Yoshida said the assessment had lack of foundation and decided to ignore it.

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T110826005191.htmhttp://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20111226/t10014925461000.html

2 ( +3 / -1 )

During original construction of the Fukushima reactors substantial excavation intentionally reduced the elevation of the chosen reactor sites. This excavation and terrain leveling resulted in the reactor facilities being built closer to sea level. Justification for this engineering debacle at the time was a substantial reduction in the costs of transporting construction materials and equipment brought to the location by sea and then moved up the cliffs to the build site. Apparently TEPCO officials did not recognize the geologically obvious point that the original landmass provided a natural barrier to tsunami and a natural history record of coastal tsunami impacts. Instead an artificial seawall barrier was erected which only partially compensated for the lowered elevation of the reactor sites. Contrary to assertations in the "final report" that "(our) tsunami anticipation was too optimistic" TEPCO actually grossly increased the risks of a future tsunami disaster through negligent engineering and construction which placed financial considerations above public safety. If construction and engineering contractors for TEPCO had been permitted to build all reactor facilities atop the existing landmass and then supplemented this natural barrier with an artificial seawall this disaster would not have occurred. Only when TEPCO publically acknowledges gross negligence in the design and construction of the Fukushima facility will the title "final report" be appropriate.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Rhino,

There are many theories about what happens after a major earthquakes. We have seen the example of Sumatra and Chile. One of the theories is that another major earthquake will strike the same area within a period of 30 years. And there have been rumours over the net during the last one year that M7 or M9 will hit Tokyo within the next 24 hours, but...

So preparedness is of utter importance. Hopefully, lessons will be learnt. The admition of mistakes is the first, though still tiny, step to improvement. I know many people will say TEPCO will never improve, but they have reinforced the N 4 spent fuel pool and continue working on the containment.

Public pressure on TEPCO has to remain strong and we do need transperancy regarding what is being done at Daiichi.

My point is that instead of concentrating only on the past, which we CANNOT CHANGE no matter how much we critisize it, it may be better to analyse what happened and make sure that it does not happen again and also recognize what is being done at present.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Jindasak Petchnil

I wonder where you got the information that there is a food crisis in Japan?

It is indeed reassuring to know that Thai people want to help Japan, but it seems we in Japan have enough to eat at this point.

Only one fact regarding dairy products: Meiji has been producing almost 10 times more yogurt due to increased demand this year.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

TEPCO should be put out of business except for dealing with it's nuclear disaster and banned from using nuclear energy again.

It should be forced to sell off all its assets including its very valuable Tokyo customer base, it's power plants, it's Tokyo HQ. The work force can be reduced for just just dealing with the disaster. A new company can be formed to take over its other business.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

What went wrong? TEPCO GE: Why did Germany switch and push to achieve 100% solar & renewables in 1980?

Because they knew the world would soon be out of gas, oil, uranium. They knew oil prices were going up astronomically. They knew global warming was being caused by burning oil, gas, coal & uranium, so Germany decided to lead the world towards a green, safe, future. We are so thankful the Germans provided this leadership in 1980.

If Germany knew in 1980, why didn't California? the US? Japan? OK, now we know. The majority in Japan do not want any reactors started.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@zichi - The drills had been held every year for decades but when the time came they failed.

I think any long timer here knows that drills in any Japanese organization are highly orchestrated, with start lines, oyaji with white gloves blowing whistles, and every move and counter-move rehearsed and practiced. The reality is always different, things happen out of order, and you have to think!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kan truly was a hero, and still is. Kan says he is opposed to restarting any reactors.

During original construction of the Fukushima reactors substantial excavation intentionally reduced the elevation of the chosen reactor sites.

Justification for this engineering debacle at the time was a substantial reduction in the costs of transporting construction materials and equipment brought to the location by sea and then moved

up the cliffs to the build site.

Many in Rio+20 are looking at Japan. They are really impressed by the Feed in Tariff.

Apparently TEPCO officials did not recognize the geologically obvious point that the original landmass provided a natural barrier to tsunami and a natural history record of coastal tsunami impacts.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I think any long timer here knows that drills in any Japanese organization are highly orchestrated, with start lines, oyaji with white gloves blowing whistles, and every move and counter-move rehearsed and practiced.

It's worse. Kan was just reading the things written on a piece of paper.

[Nuclear Disaster Drill 2010]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPFgGqPk2Gw

0 ( +1 / -1 )

wanderllust

while what you say was correct I was referring to drills held by the PM, the cabinet office, the NSC, MEXT, NISA, Prefecture governments.......

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@zichi - frequent rotation of bureaucratic staff would probably negate the value of their practice exercises. Besides, the only drills they hold are Black and Deckers!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

David Wagner posted a link to Huff Post early in this discussion. The link did not work.

The correct link should be: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kt-hiraoka/fukushima-anniversary_b_1299832.html

0 ( +1 / -1 )

We're still here, aren't we? I think TEPCO has done a great job thus far at containing this meltdown to a very small area. They had to deal with the bad imported design, which was a major hurdle to overcome.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

How is it that Shimizu and his confederates are not in jail?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

But it said the shortcomings disclosed in the report, both in hardware and crisis management, are still unresolved and need more improvement.

tepco is not admitting any wrong doing. basically, they are saying the cause was the tsunami and that their fault is unclear. they should have been put into bankruptcy from the start but the chicken sh*t politicians didn't do the right thing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yaklut,

We're still here, aren't we? I think TEPCO has done a great job thus far at containing this meltdown to a very small area.

So the way we should understand that is that if TEPCO weren't so great at taking care of things. Then we would all be gone?

So by logic then, nuclear is extremely Dangerous. We were just lucky that TEPCO saved the day?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Considering the vagueness of the Japanese Language it's possible that Kan honestly thought TEPCO were wanting to completely evacuate Fukushima Dai-ichi, but common sense suggests the TEPCO explanation is true.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Blair HerronJun. 21, 2012 - 12:36PM JST

“We must admit that our tsunami anticipation was too optimistic”

TEPCO knew big tsunami could hit the plants.

Surely that should read "thought a big tsunami could hit the plants". The earthquake/tsunami was thought to be on a 1000-year pattern, but was already nearly 200 years overdue.

The major question is: why is such a momentous event (20,000 dead) entrusted to a power utility to predict, and with a remit to only consider their own facilities?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The point is, it would have been so easy to build a plant which could withstand the strongest earthquake and the largest tsunami and at a cost much less than what the nuclear disaster will.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

8 of 20 TEPCO's directors and auditors, due to resign over the Fukushima nuclear crisis, will get lucrative positions at group companies and other entities.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

zichi Jun. 21, 2012 - 11:53PM JST

The point is, it would have been so easy to build a plant which could withstand the strongest earthquake and the largest tsunami and at a cost much less than what the nuclear disaster will.

But to do that you need to know what the strongest earthquake could be, ditto for the tsunami. Giving the evolving nature of the science that I doubt that would have been possible when Fukushima Dai-ichi was being built.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Star-viking,

I think you badly fail to see the point. It would have been very easy to have all electrical swtich gear above ground level. To have all elecrical systems and plant above ground level. To have water tight buildings with water proof doors on the reactor and turbine buildings and other essential buildings. To have essential storage tanks above ground. To have pylons carrying incoming power cables built to even withstand the strongest known earthquake times 2. To have a cooling system installed that could use sea water in the event of an extreme event. BTW, none of this is rocket science, mostly just common sense. I spent many years working in the heavy chemical industry with highly dangerous chemicals. I know what plant safety is.

Companies like KEPCO will now spend ¥billions to do just that at their NPP's.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The point is, it would have been so easy to build a plant which could withstand the strongest earthquake and the largest tsunami and at a cost much less than what the nuclear disaster will.

I guess you are familiar with the saying:

The work of an engineer is not to build the strongest, but rather the weakest structure for the job.

Some would say " of best cost-performance" instead of weakest. Other would say cheapest.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

SquidBert,

From my experience I would have to disagree, especially when a plant is very dangerous like a nuclear power plant or a heavy chemcial plant. Safety should top the list, and the places were I worked, it always did, mostly because those companies realised it was cheaper to build a safe plant than deal with a massive accident. Common sense design does not greatly increase the construction costs.

I worked at one company which decided to build a brand new plant. The company had the design company come over and discuss with us their ideas for the new plant. They listen to us and adjusted their design accordingly. It didn't cost anymore but was a whole lot safer.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

zichi Jun. 22, 2012 - 03:10PM JST

Star-viking,

I think you badly fail to see the point.

And you mine. All those modifications are well and good, but in the 1960s no-one knew there was a recurrent tsunami in the area - that came much later. Hence none of the measures you suggest, which are good, were taken. People do not take action against threats which are unknown.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

SquidBertJun. 22, 2012 - 03:18PM JST

The point is, it would have been so easy to build a plant which could withstand the strongest earthquake and the largest tsunami and at a cost much less than what the nuclear disaster will.

I guess you are familiar with the saying:

The work of an engineer is not to build the strongest, but rather the weakest structure for the job.

Some would say " of best cost-performance" instead of weakest. Other would say cheapest.

As an engineer, I can tell you that that's a complete lie. While there are such issues, those are where money IS an issue. In nuclear engineering, money is NOT an issue, and the building is built twice as strong as it should be (hence with known water levels going up to 6m, they built sea walls for 10m, for shaking of .15G, they built for .4G).

At the same time, there is no reason to build for what cannot happen, hence we don't see defenses against aliens or volcanoes.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Good stuff basroil.

I think the quote we are looking for is "the best is the enemy of 'good enough'". It generally pertains to the military hardware side of things, at least in my experience. Often quoted, often unfairly, in relation to the F-22, possibly with justification in relation to the F-35

0 ( +2 / -2 )

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