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Panel holds 1st meeting to examine TEPCO’s meltdown judgment process

The outcome of this Tepco’s investigating Tepco will be for sure just another “We are very sorry” accompanied by three deep bows down the road…




A third party investigative panel set up by Tokyo Electric Power Co. held its first meeting Thursday to examine how the utility reached its conclusion on meltdowns at its Fukushima plant in the 2011 nuclear crisis after the company admitted recently it could have made an judgment sooner than it did.




“Local people in Fukushima are still having a difficult time even five years after the accident,” Yasuhisa Tanaka, a lawyer and chairman of the panel, said ahead of the meeting. He is also former chief justice of the Sendai High Court.

“As it has been pointed out that Tokyo Electric didn’t provide enough information, we have to address various issues including how information should be provided.”

The three-member panel, including two other lawyers, was established after TEPCO said last month it failed to use its internal operation manual that contains criteria for judging core meltdowns after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on March 11, 2011.

TEPCO could have determined that nuclear core meltdowns occurred at the plant three days after the complex was crippled, based on the manual that defines meltdowns as damage to more than 5 percent of a reactor core.

But the utility initially just said reactors cores had been damaged and did not acknowledge the meltdowns until May 2011, even as analysis of the plant’s situation showed some reactors had damage to more than 5 percent of their reactor cores as of March 14 that year.

Early in the crisis, the company said there was no basis to determine reactor core meltdowns.

Later analysis found that the No. 3 unit had damage to 30 percent of its reactor core and that 55 percent of the No. 1 reactor’s core was damaged, both as of March 14, 2011.

TEPCO said in late February this year that it discovered the manual while investigating how it responded to the Fukushima disaster at the request of Niigata Prefecture. The power company aims to restart a nuclear power plant in the prefecture.

Earlier this month, TEPCO President Naomi Hirose offered an apology over the revelation that the company underestimated the severity of the accident at a meeting of the House of Councillors Budget Committee.

“There are various questions such as why (the company) wasn’t able to use the manual and why it took so long to discover it. We hope (the panel) will conduct strict investigations and we will take measures” based on the outcome, Hirose said Thursday prior to the meeting.

TEPCO will disclose the outcome of discussions at the panel as soon as they are concluded.



March 17, 2016 - Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , ,

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