Containing Fukushima: Saving Japan From Itself (Part I)
K.T. Hiraoka | Feb 25, 2012 08:15 AM EST
Independent Investigation Commission on Fukushima Accident: Confusion from Interference by PM Kan and His Ministers Made the Situation Much Worse
Unlike the investigation commissions set up by the administration and the Diet, the RJIF Commission has collected and studied information from the general public as well as from the experts.
The Commission will hold a press conference at 3PM on February 28, 2012 and discuss the findings, but Jiji Tsushin has a preview of the topics.
From Jiji Tsushin (2/28/2012):
Confusion caused by the interference by the Prime Minister’s Office, chain reaction of “doubts begot doubts”, a private investigation commission on Fukushima Nuclear Plant accident says
The private “Independent Investigation Commission on Fukushima I Nuclear Plant Accident” (Chairman Koichi Kitazawa, former head of the Japan Science and Technology Agency) has compiled the report on the accident. In the report, the Commission points out that “the Prime Minister’s Office meddling in the response at the scene of the accident caused confusion”.
The private Commission was set up last September, and has heard from about 300 people including then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan and then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano and other top government officials. The Commission investigated the response at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence and Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, information disclosure practice, and how the “safety myth” arose, which contributed to the accident.
The report points to the direct interference of the Prime Minister’s Official Residence into the response at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, causing confusion. For example, the report says Prime Minister Kan personally checked the size of the batteries to be brought to the plant. On the other hand, the Commission gives some credit to Kan, as he didn’t allow TEPCO to pull out completely from the plant and prevented the “worst-case scenario” where an uncontrolled nuclear accident would occur one after another at the plant.
The Commission says it asked the TEPCO officials including then-President Masataka Shimizu and then-Plant Manager Masao Yoshida to speak in front of the Commission but the request was declined by TEPCO.
In my rare defense of TEPCO, it is a lie propagated by Naoto Kan himself that TEPCO wanted to completely withdraw from the plant. TEPCO’s president wanted to protect workers who were not directly involved in nuclear emergency response by evacuating them from the plant, when the radiation level at the plant spiked to extremely dangerous levels. In the early days of the crisis, the radiation levels at the plant were sometimes hundreds of millisieverts per hour in certain locations.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan said he knew all about nuclear power plants because he got his BS degree in applied physics (more like engineering). According to the investigation committee set up by the Diet, Kan insisted he be the one to tell TEPCO when to conduct the vent of Reactor 1.
He insisted he visit the plant on the morning of March 12 when everyone at the plant was scrambling to figure out what was happening (or figure out what to do about the meltdown that was happening). When he arrived, he went shouting and screaming at the plant management and workers.
I hear that the BBC documentary on Fukushima paints Kan as “decisive leader who made tough decisions”. Unbelievable.
He, Edano, and Kaieda should have been the ones who carried hoses in the darkness in 100 millisieverts/hour radiation on the plant, not the Tokyo Metropolitan firefighters, as you see in the clip from the BBC documentary “Inside the Meltdown”:
Crippled Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant at One Year: Back in the Disaster Zone
David McNeill revisits Japan’s northeast and the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant a year after it was battered by the triple disaster of March 11 and finds a region still struggling to emerge from its huge shadow.
“The world is heavy on us,” says Sakurai Katsunobu, recalling the day that its weight almost crushed the life out of his city. On the morning of March 11 last year, Minamisoma and its mayor were struggling with the same mundane problems as many other small rural cities across Japan: a declining, greying population, creaking public services and a faltering local economy. By nightfall, an existential disaster had engulfed Mayor Sakurai’s office, one from which it has yet to reemerge.
It began with the huge quake that struck off the coast of the city of 71,000 at 2:46pm. Less than an hour later, Sakurai was on the roof of the city office, squinting toward the sea about six miles away. “We could see this huge cloud of dust rising into the air from the Pacific. I asked someone, ‘is that a fire?’ Then we realized it was the tsunami.” Even as he spoke, the deluge was inundating hundreds of homes, drowning old people and children; sometimes whole families. By evening, corpses were being brought to a makeshift morgue in a local college.
The March 11 quake and tsunami took 630 lives in Minamisoma, including 100 children. For days, Sakurai wondered if his elderly parents were among the casualties. But instead of looking for them he was dealing with the crisis that would define his city. On March 12, an explosion blew apart the building housing reactor 1 at the Daiichi nuclear plant, 23km south of his office. Operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) and the central government were silent on what was happening. Public television said there was no need for panic. Minamisoma’s citizens made up their own minds and began to flee from rumours of radiation.
Essay continues at:
jpg on “Surviving a Nuclear Holocaust”
Schools Reopen in Former “Evacuation-Ready” Zone in Minami Soma City
This photo from Asahi Shinbun (2/28/2012) shows a giant radiation monitoring and display device on the school yard which looks like it has been “decontaminated”. 0.227 microsievert/hour (most likely measuring only gamma rays), children, feel free to run around and kick up dust in the new and improved school yard…
(To recap, this is how they “decontaminate” in Minami Soma.)
This monitoring and display device was made by Fuji Electric. Alpha Tsushin (telecom), the company who was initially contracted by the government to build and install radiation monitoring and display devices throughout Fukushima Prefecture, was suddenly dropped from the contract in November last year because the reading of their device was “inaccurate” – meaning it was “too high” for the government.
The schools that re-opened in Minami Soma City are located in Haramachi District of Minami Soma City where the “black dust” on the road surfaces was found with 1 million becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium.
There are some very strange things going on over the “black dust” in Minami Soma, and I can’t really quite get the whole picture yet. I’ll report when I have a better understanding.
Report takes former PM Kan to task over Fukushima nuke disaster handling
The office of former Prime Minister Naoto Kan came in for scathing criticism in a Feb. 27 report on the handling of the Fukushima nuclear crisis’ opening days, with the document accusing the PM’s office of “grandstanding” and causing “useless confusion.”
The report, put together by the private Fukushima nuclear disaster independent investigative committee, concludes that the Prime Minister’s Office’s first response to the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant “increased the risk of worsening the situation through stress and useless confusion.” Furthermore, “grandstanding led to badly muddled crisis management measures” which did little or nothing to help prevent a worsening of the disaster. The report also rebuked the highest levels of government for meddling in emergency response measures.
Article continues at:
TEPCO to pay 600,000 yen to pregnant woman who voluntarily evacuated
TOKYO, Feb. 28, Kyodo
Tokyo Electric Power Co. has decided to pay 600,000 yen each to pregnant women and children aged 18 or under who have voluntarily evacuated their homes because of the nuclear meltdown at its Fukushima Daiichi power plant, sources close to the company said Tuesday.
The sum will be paid, starting next month, as compensation money through last December for residents of 23 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture located outside the government-designated evacuation zones around the plant in the northeastern Japan prefecture.
Many people who have voluntarily evacuated had been hoping the plant operator would pay the actual costs involved, but Tokyo Electric has decided that to do so would entail a laborious application process and delay compensation payments, the sources said.
Cesium pollen full swing
Following up this article ..Cesium pollen started attacking Tokyo
A private weather forecasting company, weather news announced the amount of pollen in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Shizuoka have gotten into the peak.
On 2/27/2012, Kanto area was sunny, dry and windy, which is the best condition for pollen to fly. More amount of pollen flew toward the evening. As it gets warmer in March, the pollen amount will increase more.
最新の花粉飛散情報は、同社の PC 向けサイト、携帯サイトおよびスマートフォンサイトの「花粉Ch.」で確認できる。
METI to introduce equipment to remove most radioactive materials at Fukushima plant
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) said on Feb. 27 that it would introduce equipment in the first half of next fiscal year that is capable of removing almost all kinds of radioactive substances from contaminated water piled up or stored on the premises of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.
METI made the decision when it held a meeting to discuss medium- and long-term measures toward the decommissioning of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power station.
Article continues at:
Japan Weighed Evacuating Tokyo in Nuclear Crisis
TOKYO — In the darkest moments of last year’s nuclear accident, Japanese leaders did not know the actual extent of damage at the plant and secretly considered the possibility of evacuating Tokyo, even as they tried to play down the risks in public, an independent investigation into the accident disclosed on Monday.
Article continues at:
Yomiuri Jet Flyover: Walls of ‘other structures’ at Fukushima plant were also blown away
Title: Photos from jet show devastated N-plant
Source: The Daily Yomiuri
Author: Tatsuo Nakajima / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer
Date: Feb. 28, 2012
The heavily damaged upper framework of the buildings housing the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant were photographed from a Yomiuri Shimbun jet Sunday […]Once the aircraft turned to view the No. 2 reactor building from the coast, a big opening in the wall was visible despite the fact that the building had not exploded […]
Walls of some other structures located on the sea coast were also blown away. […]
The sight of the plant from the air has seared into our memory the cruel accident, which destroyed the livelihoods of more than 110,000 local residents.
Read the report here