guardian.co.uk, Associated Press in Tokyo, Monday 26 December 2011
|A disturbing picture has emerged of bumbling workers and government |
officials scrambling to respond to the disaster. Photograph: Ken
Japan's response to the nuclear crisis that followed the 11 March tsunami was confused and riddled with problems, including an erroneous assumption an emergency cooling system was working and a delay in disclosing dangerous radiation leaks, a report has revealed.
The disturbing picture of harried and bumbling workers and government officials scrambling to respond to the problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was depicted in the report, detailing a government investigation.
The 507-page interim report, compiled by interviewing more than 400 people, including utility workers and government officials, found authorities had grossly underestimated tsunami risks, assuming the highest wave would be 6m (20ft). The tsunami hit at more than double that level.
The report criticised the use of the term soteigai, meaning outside our imagination, or unforseeable, which it said implied authorities were shirking responsibility for what had happened. It said by labelling the events as beyond what could have been expected, officials had invited public distrust.
"This accident has taught us an important lesson on how we must be ready for soteigai," it said.
The report, set to be finished by mid 2012, found workers at Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), the utility that ran Fukushima Daiichi, were untrained to handle emergencies such as the power shutdown that struck when the tsunami destroyed backup generators setting off the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
There was no clear manual to follow, and the workers failed to communicate, not only with the government but also among themselves, it said.
Finding alternative ways to bring sorely needed water to the reactors was delayed for hours because of the mishandling of an emergency cooling system, the report said. Workers assumed the system was working, despite several warning signs it had failed and was sending the nuclear core into meltdown.
The report acknowledged that even if the system had kicked in properly, the tsunami damage may have been so great that meltdowns would have happened anyway.
But a better response might have reduced the core damage, radiation leaks and the hydrogen explosions that followed at two reactors and sent plumes of radiation into the air, according to the report.
The government dallied in relaying information to the public, such as using evasive language to avoid admitting serious meltdowns at the reactors, the report said.
The government also delayed disclosure of radiation data in the area, unnecessarily exposing entire towns to radiation when they could have evacuated, the report found.
The government recommended changes so utilities will respond properly to serious accidents.
It recommended separating the nuclear regulators from the unit that promotes atomic energy, echoing frequent criticism since the disaster, which left 20,000 people dead or missing.
Japan's nuclear regulators were in the same ministry that promotes the industry, but they will be moved to the environment ministry next year to ensure more independence.
The report acknowledged people were still living in fear of radiation in the air and water, as well as radiation in the food they eat. Thousands have been forced to evacuate and have suffered monetary damage from radiation contamination, it said.
"The nuclear disaster is far from over," the report said.
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) - (Text version)
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)