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At Fukushima nuclear emergency, safety inspectors were the first to flee

Fukushima-aerial-viewNuclear safety inspectors first to flee stricken Fukushima plant June 03, 2014 Asahi Shimbun, By SHINICHI SEKINE/ Staff Writer Safety inspectors with the government’s nuclear watchdog body were the first to flee when disaster struck the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.

The exodus of Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) officials compromised communications between the government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. at a critical juncture.

This unexpected turn of events shows that the government itself was not sure what role it should play in the nuclear crisis.

The plant manager, Masao Yoshida, who died last year of esophageal cancer, was questioned by the government’s Investigation Committee on the Accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations several months after the accident. The Asahi Shimbun obtained a copy of his testimony.

According to his testimony, on March 15, 2011, four days after the Fukushima plant was hit by the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, 90 percent of the workers in the plant withdrew to the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant some 10 kilometers away, ignoring Yoshida’s order to remain in and around the compound of the No. 1 facility.

Before that, however, NISA inspectors fled the site immediately after the accident even though they should have stayed to assess what steps were needed to deal with the accident. They went to makeshift government headquarters set up about five kilometers from the No. 1 plant.

On March 15, the makeshift facility was transferred to Fukushima city, some 50 kilometers away. With all government safety inspectors absent from the No. 1 nuclear power plant, the government had no direct means to grasp what was happening there. As a result, it was forced to depend entirely on TEPCO for information.

But channels of communication between the government and TEPCO did not go smoothly. This chaotic situation prompted the prime minister, Naoto Kan, to go to TEPCO’s head office in Tokyo. That was the catalyst for the government and TEPCO to jointly set up headquarters in Tokyo, 230 kilometers away, to deal with the nuclear accident.

The government’s investigation committee’s reports based on Yoshida’s recall of the events highlight the withdrawal of the No. 1 plant’s workers to the No. 2 plant even though the government’s safety inspectors were the first to flee……..http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201406030026

June 4, 2014 - Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, Fukushima continuing

1 Comment »

  1. Ƭhanks for finally tɑlking aƄout >At Fukushima nuclear emergency, safety inspectors
    were the first to flee nuclеar-news <Liked it!

    Comment by Landed Estate | June 19, 2014 | Reply


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