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The TEPCO Shareholders’ Lawsuit: Why TEPCO Executives Have Been Ordered to Pay 13 Trillion Yen in Compensation

by Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center · September 30, 2022

By Kaido Yuichi (Attorney representing TEPCO Shareholders)

Attorneys and supporters celebrate their victory outside the Tokyo District Court (Kaido Yuichi, the author, is pictured in the blue jacket)

A Nuclear Accident that Could Have Led to Collapse of the Nation Itself

We succeeded in winning a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs on July 13 in the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) shareholders’ derivative lawsuit* that I began working on immediately after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (NPS) accident. During the 10 years since we filed this lawsuit in March 2012, 62 sessions were held in Tokyo District Court. Judge Asakura Yoshihide of Tokyo District Court Commercial Division, who presided over the trial, took about 40 minutes to read the summary, with joyful applause filling the courtroom.

The ruling recognized damages in excess of the amounts paid for decommissioning, compensation for damages to the victims, and the costs of interim storage measures for decontamination resulting from the Fukushima Daiichi NPS accident, which had occurred due to breach of duties by the four TEPCO executives (Katsumata Tsunehisa (former Chairman), Shimizu Masataka (former President), Takekuro Ichiro and Muto Sakae (both former Vice-Presidents)).

The ruling thus ordered the four defendants to pay damages of 13.321 trillion yen ($97 billion) to TEPCO.

The ruling says first, that a nuclear power plant (NPP) operator has the obligation to prevent any chance of a serious accident, and that it was the executives’ responsibility to order the company to take measures to prevent a serious accident from occurring as a result of a tsunami. It also says that serious accidents at NPPs, such as reactor core damage, result not only in broken communities, but “could lead the nation itself to collapse.” The ruling determined that there was a duty to society in the public interest to prevent even the remote chance of such serious accidents from occurring. Here, the Supreme Court’s 1992 decision on Ikata NPP was cited.**

I think this ruling, in mentioning “collapse of the nation itself,” strongly reflects the judge’s experience in visiting a “difficult-to-return zone” and entering one of the reactors involved in the accident for on-site consultation.

Long-term Assessment by Suihon Reliable as Basis for Tsunami Countermeasures

In addition, this ruling recognized the reliability of the long-term assessment published in July 2002 by the Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion (a government agency abbreviated as Suihon) as a basis for implementing tsunami countermeasures. The assessment in question had indicated that tsunami-generating earthquakes had occurred offshore along Japan’s Pacific coast along the Sanriku (northernmost Honshu) area down to the Boso (Chiba) area three times in the past 400 years, and that there was a 6 percent chance of such a tsunami-generating earthquake occurring during the subsequent 30 years off the coast of Fukushima.

In particular, the long-term assessment was judged as having high reliability that was recognized as follows:

“In light of the facts that Suihon is an institution established as a state organ for the purpose of centralized earthquake evaluation; that the nature of long-term assessment is the objective evaluation of seismic activity, mainly through scientific knowledge, for the purpose of promoting earthquake disaster countermeasures; that the long-term assessment was compiled over the course of three stages of discussions by the Subduction Zone Subcommittee, the Long-term Assessment Committee, and the Earthquake Investigation Committee; and that many of our nation’s top-level earthquake and tsunami researchers were brought together to produce it, it is clear that the views in this long-term assessment cannot be regarded as if they were merely a prediction presented in one researcher’s paper or such. These points by themselves provide the scientific reliability that corresponds to definitive authority.”

Various views had been expressed, including that there were differences between localities from north to south, such as the presence of accretionary complexes (wedges) along the Japan Trench, but none of them had amounted to anything more than hypothetical conjecture and could not form a basis for tsunami countermeasures. Regarding the tsunami evaluation technology employed by the Japan Society of Civil Engineers in 2002, on which TEPCO’s executives based their assertion that there were no wave-generating sources located off the coast of Fukushima, it was judged as having been put together without actual consideration of such wave-generating sources.

The initial decision by Tokyo District Court on September 19, 2019 in the TEPCO criminal trial held that the Suihon’s long-term assessment lacked reliability as a basis for halting nuclear reactors. It found the defendants innocent while making no judgement regarding measures aside from halting reactors for avoiding that outcome. Thus the current ruling is the exact opposite.

Whether the national government bears any responsibility with regard to the Fukushima nuclear accident is disputed. The majority opinion expressed in the Supreme Court’s ruling last June 16 mysteriously evaded a decision on this burning issue. Furthermore, in the elaborate Miura minority opinion included in that ruling for appearances’ sake, the reliability of basing tsunami countermeasures on the long-term assessment was recognized, just as it has been in the current ruling.

The clear judgement indicated in the current ruling is likely the result of influence from testimonies during the criminal trial from Long-term Assessment Committee Chairman Shimazaki Kunihiko, Maeda Kenji of the Suihon Secretariat and Tsuji Yoshinobu, a leading expert in earthquake research, who were adopted as witnesses along with Hamada Nobuo, director of Japan Meteorological Agency’s seismology and volcano division, who was also a subcommittee member. Not one of these experts challenged the conclusion of the long-term assessment; rather, they testified that the opinions summarized in the consensus should have been respected by both the national government and the electric power industry.

Moreover, this ruling held that reliability as a basis for tsunami countermeasures was recognized even for the knowledge revealed in Satake Kenji’s thesis, in which he modeled the wave source that produced the tsunami in the 869 Jogan earthquake based on a survey of tsunami sediments. This ruling did not limit its judgement to the reliability of public institutions’ views only.

Defendants’ Liability Owing to Unsatisfactory Professional Conduct

In addition, regarding the fact that defendant Muto Sakae rejected proposals from TEPCO’s civil engineering group, who suggested taking tsunami countermeasures in June and July 2008, and took no countermeasures whatsoever over a period of several years until their assessment was compiled (inaction in this case), Muto was suspected of delaying countermeasures. However, even if the rationality of his actions could be acknowledged somehow, the inaction by the civil engineering group resulted in continuation of conditions under which the nuclear reactors would have been unable to handle a natural disaster, and he was found guilty because there was no latitude for allowing that.

Regarding the plaintiff’s claim that postponement of the measures could be seen as unreasonable, the ruling recognized that, “Given facts such as that in his consultations with other NPS operators, Sakai Toshiaki of TEPCO’s civil engineering group said that, regarding the policies behind Muto’s decisions, it was a matter of how TEPCO would manage if the Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini reactors were shut down while those at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa were idled; the fact that after giving his opinion on the long-term assessment in an e-mail to Takao Makoto and Kaneto Toshimichi of the same engineering group, Sakai also pointed out regarding the Jogan tsunami that the Electric Technology Research Association was asking if it would be too much trouble to ask for more time, and he took it to mean that with regard to Muto’s decision he should play for time and not implement tsunami countermeasures; and that there were critical reactions to Muto’s decision policies among councils within Japan’s nuclear power industry, such as ‘Are such delays okay? and ‘Why has such a decision been made?’ Suspicions that Muto’s decision may have been a deliberate ploy to put off measures for the sake of TEPCO’s management cannot be dispelled. However, even based on these points, a certain rationality to Muto’s decision has been deemed as undeniable, but I think this is because the ruling has been written in such a way that it will not be overturned by the high court.

First, with this kind of judgement assumed, this ruling acknowledges facts such as that TEPCO’s civil engineering group had established a policy of taking tsunami countermeasures, explained this to others in the company including the president at a “Gozen Kaigi” (literally “Imperial Council”) in February 2008, and also explained its policy for taking tsunami countermeasures in response to Suihon’s long-term assessment in a Q&A it compiled for handling inquiries at the time of the interim quake-resistance back-check in March. In the Q&A, it states that Muto’s decision in itself was “Not based on the engineering group’s explanations and opinions, but his own judgement in opposition to those.”

The first ruling by the criminal court mentioned above held that the information revealed at the ‘Imperial Council’ with the president was unacceptable, misinterpreting the evidence, but it did recognize the reliability of the prosecutor’s statement from Yamashita Kazuhiko, director of the Countermeasure Center for the Niigata Chuetsu Offshore Earthquake, who testified on this point.

Also, given that consideration by the civil engineering group would take at least several years and construction of seawalls would take at least several years more, in the event of a tsunami, there was a high likelihood of it resulting directly in a serious accident with enormous damage, and thus the current ruling holds that these countermeasures had a high priority, that it was an urgently important issue and that it indicates problems regarding the very basis of TEPCO’s management. Moreover, if this way of thinking is “hindsight” after the accident, it notes, “In the final analysis, there was a common perception at TEPCO that such a tsunami would not be brought up until measures such as a seawall could be completed” and “It shows a lack of ability to envisage severe accidents, a lack of awareness regarding safety, and laxity in perceptions, which should have been considered fundamental for TEPCO as an NPS operator to have had prior to the accident. This is unacceptable.” Thus the defendants were found guilty.

Defendant Takekuro, who was the executive in charge of nuclear power, also heard defendant Muto’s explanation in a similar way in August of that year, so his responsibility was recognized in the same way as Muto’s.

Also, even regarding then President Shimizu and then Chairman Katsumata, at the February 2009 Imperial Council, views were recognized from persons with reasonable credibility that took a large-scale tsunami into account, so indeed it was affirmed that they had the duty of due care because they could have made an appropriate decision by investigating and discussing tsunami countermeasures. The defendants claimed that the Imperial Council served simply as a venue for sharing information, but the ruling did not recognize the defendants’ excuse, because “An Imperial Council should be considered an important meeting regarding the conduct of affairs at TEPCO, and that the president, chairman and other executives attend it and express their opinions means that these are not just private words and deeds, but actions in the execution of business by the directors.”

A Fundamental Lack of Safety Awareness and Sense of Responsibility Required from NPS Operators

In the section of the ruling summing up judgments that recognized unsatisfactory professional conduct by the defendants, the ruling pointed out the responsibility of TEPCO’s executives in the following harsh terms.

“Looking at the circumstances of this case, TEPCO did not take action based on safety awareness, which is a matter of course and very rigorously demanded from a nuclear power plant operator, with consideration of all possible countermeasures before accidents happen, and in accordance with the degree of risk, how such countermeasures may be implemented quickly based on the latest scientific knowledge so that even unlikely severe accidents do not have a chance to occur. Instead, almost consistently, they failed to reveal information they had obtained themselves in their relations with NISA (Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency) and other regulating authorities…and what stands out is that they took great pains to figure how they could use the most convenient parts of experts’ opinions while ignoring inconvenient parts and keeping them from coming to light so that they could maintain the status quo to the utmost.

“Even when the division in charge of tsunami countermeasures, which was negotiating with NISA and others, found the situation no longer sustainable and declared that they would take genuine measures against tsunamis, the defendants did not accept the opinions of that division. To the contrary, they decided to continue examining matters such as wave sources using external organizations (citation note: this refers to the Japan Society of Civil Engineers) through which they could effectively involve themselves in discussions. Moreover, during that time, they implemented no tsunami countermeasures whatsoever.

“Within TEPCO at that time, the judgement and responses of the defendants may have been actions that could have been viewed as reasonable and a matter of course, so to speak, but it must be said that the safety awareness and sense of responsibility required from nuclear power plant operators and their executives whether before or after the accident in this case were fundamentally lacking.”

The above words can be viewed in the context of comprehensive recognition of facts on such matters as results of tsunami height calculations and behind-the-scenes negotiations with experts, which TEPCO could not bring itself to submit even to NISA, or if it did, it presented them in a misleading way.

Then, what the defendants chose as their tsunami countermeasures were items like large-scale seawalls, which were expected to take a certain amount of time to implement—measured in multiple years—while continuing to operate the reactors as these countermeasures were being completed, but it would have been possible for them to have thought of and implemented emergency measures against tsunamis such as waterproofing the main buildings and rooms with important equipment. Those countermeasures could have been completed before the accident, and in fact, examples of those are acknowledged to have been implemented at the Hamaoka NPS, Tokai Daini NPS and JAEA (Japan Atomic Energy Agency) prior to the time the accident occurred. Judge Asakura Yoshihide and his team conducted an on-site investigation of the Fukushima Daiichi NPS in October 2021 and confirmed conditions at the site and specific places where waterproofing work should have been implemented.

The majority opinion of the Supreme Court mentioned above, which denied the government’s liability, overlooked this point, but the Miura minority opinion in the Supreme Court’s ruling indicated a similar judgement as in the current ruling.

Against the Denial of Responsibility and Disavowal of Damage by TEPCO and the Government

The only trials looking into the individual responsibility of former management figures in the nuclear accident and TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi NPS have been the TEPCO criminal trial and the current shareholder derivative lawsuit.

The excellent ruling we achieved this time made it clear to the entire nation that the Fukushima nuclear accident occurred due to a fundamental lack of safety awareness and sense of responsibility among TEPCO’s executives. We can say that we have gained an extremely valuable bridgehead against the denial of responsibility and disavowal of damage by TEPCO and the Japanese government. Requests were made at the hearing of immediate appeal of the TEPCO criminal trial by the designated lawyers and plaintiffs’ representatives to look into the evidence for the ruling and to reopen the case. If we are able to reopen that case and have the documented facts associated with this ruling examined as evidence, there is a tremendously strong possibility of having the verdict of innocent reconsidered.

The four defendants have appealed the ruling. The plaintiffs are appealing former Managing Executive Officer Komori Akio’s exclusion from the demand for compensation on the grounds that his term as an executive at TEPCO had been too short. The stage for the case will move on to Tokyo High Court, and I invite you to keep an interested eye on it in the future.

*A shareholders’ derivative lawsuit can be launched by shareholders against company executives whose actions have caused the company damages. If the plaintiffs win the lawsuit, damages are paid by the executives to the company, not to the shareholders.

**The Supreme Court’s judgement on the annulment of the Ikata NPP Unit 1 operating license, even though it rejected the annulment, stated that it was the duty of NPP operators to ensure that the safety of their NPPs was based on the most recent information available.  

Source: https://cnic.jp/english/?p=6288

October 1, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Number of evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture due to the nuclear power plant accident

Mr. Seiichi Nakate (right) handed a written request to the Reconstruction Agency at the House of Representatives building in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on March 23.

August 23, 2022
On August 23, three groups of evacuees from Fukushima Prefecture requested the Reconstruction Agency not to exclude approximately 6,600 people from the number of evacuees from outside of Fukushima Prefecture due to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, because their whereabouts cannot be confirmed. The reduction in the number of evacuees in the statistics may lead to a trivialization of the damage caused by the nuclear power plant accident.
 The Reconstruction Agency compiles the number of evacuees based on the information that evacuees have reported to the municipalities where they have taken refuge. In some cases, such as when evacuees move away without notifying the local government, their whereabouts are lost. As a result of the survey conducted since last September, approximately 2,900 people’s whereabouts are unknown, and approximately 2,480 people have moved without notifying the municipality. In addition, a total of 6,604 people will be excluded from the evacuee statistics, including approximately 1,110 people who answered “will not return” in the survey.
 As of April, the number of out-of-prefecture evacuees was approximately 23,000, a decrease of more than 3,300 from January, as reports continue to follow this policy. The number is expected to continue to decrease as each municipality works to correct the situation.
 The request was made on this day by the National Association of Evacuees for the “Right to Evacuation” and others. Seiichi Nakate, 61, co-chairman of the association and an evacuee from Fukushima City to Sapporo City, said, “Even though I no longer have the intention to return, I am aware that I am an ‘evacuee. I cannot allow myself to be excluded by the government.” He handed the written request to a Reconstruction Agency official. The official explained that the exclusion would be made in order to match the actual situation of the evacuees, but that it would not affect the support measures.
 At the press conference, Nakate said, “Eleven years have passed since the accident, and the number of official support measures at the evacuation sites is decreasing every year. The evacuee statistics are the basis for all support measures, and I am concerned that they may lead to further reductions in support in the future. (Kenta Onozawa)
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/197673?fbclid=IwAR1Om2iDjG_pTgRouOTIf-Ji0p18kJC6R9bkXkJxDBKx66RYKjZkt14L3_Q

August 28, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

The shadows grow longer in Fukushima

The Fukushima No 2 nuclear power plant, as seen in March, is part of a complex that has come to define the region in northeastern Japan since disaster struck in March 2011

August 15, 2022

As Tokyo tries to woo residents back, plans to dump toxic water pose more perils

For Setsuko Matsumoto, 71, there will be no return to her hometown in Fukushima prefecture-that is despite the determined efforts of the Japanese government to win her over to the idea that it is safe to do so. And that goes for the many like Matsumoto who cannot countenance how they can once again live in neighborhoods that were devastated by the earthquake and tsunami more than a decade ago.

Having run a hair salon for almost 30 years in Futaba, a town 4 kilometers from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Matsumoto believes the place has no future. The government would have her believe otherwise. On Aug 30, it will lift the last of the restrictions imposed that have prevented former residents from living in the region permanently. It claims radiation levels arising from the nuclear accident in March 2011 are now low enough to be deemed safe.

“I don’t think that the town will be able to go on, even with the return of some elderly residents,” says Matsumoto.

Although 11 years have passed since the Fukushima plant’s cooling systems were severely damaged in the disaster, triggering the meltdown of three reactors and the release of large amounts of radiation, Matsumoto has her reasons for not moving back.

“Residing in Futaba is not an option for me,” she says. “The lack of shopping and medical care opportunities can’t be solved anytime soon and I don’t have a reason to relocate to a place with a worse living environment.”

Over the years, there have been sustained efforts-both from the top down and the bottom up-aimed at driving Fukushima’s reconstruction and revitalization. Seemingly limitless funds have been spent on that process, from the national government all the way down to township levels. These efforts are all bound up in the Japanese government’s economic and political ambitions to show the world that it has succeeded in managing the nuclear crisis.

Yet that strong desire to change Fukushima into something resembling its old form, or even something better, has encountered resistance from the likes of Matsumoto, who have lived with the effects of trauma for more than a decade.

Work proceeds in March on the construction of a shaft at the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant near the town of Futaba in Japan’s northeast.

As a result of the disaster, some 160,000 people like Matsumoto were evacuated from the Fukushima region. What the authorities had to contend with was a level-7 nuclear accident, the highest on the international scale of nuclear and radiological events. By the end of 2021, some 40,000 of them were still unable to return to their homes. But, with Futaba, the last of dozens of places ending their status as no-go zones, the government still faces a challenge in regaining the people’s trust.

In a survey conducted by Japan’s Reconstruction Agency and others, only 11.3 percent of respondents said they wanted to return to Futaba while more than 60 percent said they already decided not to return.

The town aims to attract 2,000 people back in the next five years but in a trial for overnight stays, beginning in January, has seen only 15 former residents have applied.

In a report in 2020, Miranda Schreurs, a professor and chair of environmental and climate policy at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, argues that the situation in Fukushima remains precarious because problems like the removal of radioactively contaminated waste, and issues such as incineration, still need to be addressed.

“It will still take many years to win back confidence and trust in the government’s messages that the region is safe,” Schreurs says in the report, adding that intergenerational equity is also an issue. The next generations will be left with the burden of completing the highly dangerous and complex decommissioning work at the Fukushima plant, she said.

The plans for Fukushima’s future also bump up against the government’s divisive decision to proceed with a plan to discharge the radioactive water from the plant into the Pacific Ocean. The water has been used to cool the highly radioactive, damaged reactor cores and would be sufficient to fill about 500 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Under Tokyo’s schedule, the ocean disposal will begin next spring.

Those plans present another blow to those former Fukushima residents who may be wanting to return to their old communities.

“Dumping the water went contrary to a government pledge of reconstructing my hometown Fukushima because it threatens a double blow to our community,” says Hisae Unuma, an evacuee who has been among those pushing for the government to scrap the decision.

However, despite the mounting opposition from people in and outside Japan, the Japanese government has not troubled itself to give the plan a second thought.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority of Japan officially endorsed the discharge plan on July 22.

On Aug 4, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, the Fukushima plant’s operator, announced the start of construction on the pipelines that will take the contaminated water out to sea. But Japanese media have already reported that these works were all but completed.

Japanese take to the streets in Tokyo in April 2021 to protest against the government’s plan for ocean discharge

In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Japan must not discharge the contaminated water before a consensus is reached with all stakeholders, as well as with international agencies, after a thorough consultation. “This is a litmus test of Japan’s commitment to international obligations,” Zhao said.

On Aug 1, South Korean Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Cho Seunghwan said the government is considering whether to take the issue to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Cho said the government’s primary goal is to prevent Japan from releasing the contaminated water. “We do not accept the release plan”, he said.

Last month, a meeting of foreign ministers of the Pacific Islands Forum released a document criticizing Japan. The ministers said the ocean discharge could lead to “transgenerational impacts of great concern to the peoples of the Pacific”.

In Japan, the condemnations of official policy, along with petitions calling for the reversal of the decision, have been constant since the ocean discharge plan was confirmed by the government in April last year.

Among the environmental groups denouncing the plan is FoE Japan. In a statement, it says the Japanese government and TEPCO had much earlier made written commitments on the matter, that “without the understanding of relevant personnel, no actions will be taken”. However, the government still decided to go ahead with the ocean discharge without seeking advice from the parties involved, the statement says.

Civil society groups in the most-affected prefectures submitted a petition to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and TEPCO in March. Reaffirming their opposition to the release of the contaminated water, they demanded that the government pursue other alternatives. Consumer groups and fisheries associations are at the forefront of this action.

The petition has collected some 180,000 signatures from residents in prefectures such as Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi.

Masanobu Sakamoto, president of the National Fisheries Cooperative Federation of Japan, says the plan has not gained the support of the public and the fisheries industry and that the federation’s firm opposition remains.

Katsuhito Fuyuki, the board chair of the Miyagi Consumers Cooperative Association, likewise says the government’s disposal plan has failed to win public support.

“The impact of the 2011 nuclear accident remains and imports of Miyagi fishery products are still banned by nearby countries,” says Fuyuki, adding that the decision would deal a further blow to the local economy.

Tests are conducted in March on contaminated water from the Fukushima plant. Many are skeptical that the water can be treated safely.

Under the government’s plan, the authorities will gradually discharge the still-contaminated water from next spring. Japan insists there are no alternatives to the ocean discharge. It says that by the end of 2022 there will be no space left at the site for storage. Moreover, after a treatment process known as the Advanced Liquid Processing System, or ALPS, the radioactive tritium-a radioactive isotope of hydrogen-will be the only radionuclide in the water and that it is harmless.

However, many environmental scientists and environmentalists are scathing in their condemnation of Japan’s narrative, saying it is misinformation aimed at creating a false impression that the consequences of the 2011 nuclear disaster are short-lived.

A report in 2020 by the environmental group Greenpeace says the narrative has been constructed to serve financial and political reasons.

“Long after the Yoshihide Suga (and Shinzo Abe) administrations are historical footnotes, the negative consequences of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown will remain a present and constant threat most immediately to the people and environment of Fukushima, but also to the rest of Japan and internationally,” says the report, referring to Suga as the then prime minister whose government approved the disposal plan a year ago.

According to the Greenpeace report, there is no technical, engineering or legal barrier to securing storage space for ALPS-treated contaminated water. It is only a matter of political will and the decision is based on expediency-the cheapest option is ocean discharge.

“The discharge of wastewater from Fukushima is an act of contaminating the Pacific Ocean as well as the sea area of South Korea,” says Ahn Jae-hun, energy and climate change director at the Korea Federation for Environment Movement, an advocacy group in Seoul.

“Many people in South Korea believe that Japan’s discharge of the Fukushima wastewater is a wrong policy that threatens the safety of both the sea and humans.”

Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, says the Fukushima contaminated water issue comes under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as it is a form of pollution to international waters.

There are strong grounds for individual countries to file a legal challenge against Japan’s plan, Burnie says.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202208/15/WS62f99f00a310fd2b29e7224e_1.html

August 21, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Dumps and Museums, the Legacy of a Nuclear Disaster

by Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center · August 4, 2022

Sayonara Nukes Fukushima Study Tour Report

By Takano Satoshi (CNIC)

On June 17–18, 2022, I participated in the overnight fieldwork tour to Fukushima organized by the Sayonara Nukes 10 Million People’s Action. Twenty-one participants visited facilities associated with the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) disaster by bus and listened to the voices of people affected by the disaster. I would like to report on the tour in this article.

Landfill site of government-specified wastes and TEPCO Decommissioning Archive Center in Tomioka Town

Departing Tokyo on the morning of June 17, the bus carried us to our first destination, the landfill site of government-specified wastes, located in the suburbs of Tomioka Town, Futaba District, Fukushima Prefecture. This site, which used to be a waste dump site named Fukushima Eco Tech Clean Center, was nationalized by the Ministry of the Environment Japan in 2016 and began to accept government-specified wastes in 2017. Delivered to the site among the specified wastes are the ashes generated by the incineration of sewage sludge, pasture grass and rice straw, as well as daily wastes from the eight municipalities in Futaba District. The radioactive contamination of the ashes is required to be between 8 and 100 kilobequerels per kilogram (kBq/kg). Contaminated soil gathered by decontamination work is not delivered here. This landfill site is scheduled to be used for six years for the specified wastes and ten years for the daily wastes from the municipalities. Radioactive air dose monitoring is planned to be continued after the landfilling at this site is completed. As of May 2022, the site has accepted 230,000 flexible container bags of wastes.

This landfill site was equipped with measures against water leakage, such as impermeable sheets laid on the ground before the landfilling, and a leachate control tank and treatment facility. Radioactive air dose monitoring was also installed. This type of landfill site is called a controlled disposal site. Another type of landfill site, a shielded site, has a concrete pit to prevent contact between water and wastes and is thus superior in radioactive substance shielding performance. The specified waste landfill sites outside Fukushima Prefecture are planned to be shielded sites. I wondered why these controlled disposal sites are only built in Fukushima Prefecture.

Tour participants visiting the TEPCO Decommissioning Archive Center

Our next destination was the TEPCO Decommissioning Archive Center, located in downtown Tomioka. The Archive Center exhibited not only information about the decommissioning of FDNPS; the cause of the disaster, damage compensation issues, and the operator’s responsibilities for the restoration of the local area were also explained. The exhibits were superficially apologetic, skipping all the information that could be disadvantageous to TEPCO. The cause of the disaster was explained as the failure of the company to predict such huge tsunamis and to provide preventive measures. The exhibits did not tell the truth — the governmental Long-term Assessment in 2002 estimated such tsunamis and earthquakes, and litigations against the company are ongoing over the assessment. To emphasize how TEPCO acted immediately after the occurrence of the disaster, a video was being screened, in which Ishikawa Masumi, director and assistant to Yoshida Masao, who was then the Fukushima Daiichi plant manager, was being interviewed. Mr. Ishikawa stressed that plant staff, having a strong sense of responsibility, made their best efforts to deal with the disaster, referring to the film Fukushima 50. However, if they had followed TEPCO in-house manuals, they could have announced the occurrence of meltdowns three days after the disaster, but they did not. The meltdowns were hidden for five years. The “worst-case scenario” by the Japan Atomic Energy Commission, which suggested that 30 million people living within a 250 km radius around the plant would need to evacuate if the disaster went out of control, was not mentioned. Exhibits about decommissioning did no more than justify the existing roadmap, in which the completion of decommissioning is scheduled for thirty to forty years in the future. For fuel debris retrieval, the submersion method turned out to be unpractical and the dry method has been employed, but it was not explained in detail just how technically difficult it might be to retrieve the debris. For the problem of contaminated water, exhibits took it for granted that the water would be discharged into the sea. It was not mentioned that the company is breaking the agreement with local fishermen in Fukushima; the operator simply declared that they would be ready to pay compensation if losses occur due to possible rumors about the contamination of seafood. There was no sign of remorse on TEPCO’s part found in these expedient exhibits.

A meal at the hotel

After the visit to the TEPCO Decommissioning Archive Center, we moved to the Japanese-style hotel in Soma City, where we lodged. The hotel owned rice paddies, and we were served rice that had been harvested there. It was delicious.

A rice paddy reflecting the morning sunlight

On the next morning, I woke up early and had a walk around the hotel. The morning sunlight was beautifully reflected in the paddies, and I found pretty frogs and dragonflies living there. The dose rate was 0.048 μSv/h, which was no higher than the dose rate before the disaster.

Frog and dragonfly near the rice paddy

The Great East Japan Earthquake and the Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum in Futaba Town; the Shunzan kiln, Obori Soma pottery area, Namie Town

After leaving the hotel in the morning, we joined Watanabe Hiroyuki, a guide from the Obori Soma pottery, a traditional craft industry in Namie Town. Firstly, the group visited the Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum in Futaba Town.

The Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum

This museum is run by Fukushima Prefecture. The museum placed stress on local efforts to restore the area, rather than the tragedy of the disaster or the seriousness of the damage. As an example, a video showed a schoolteacher, who said: “After the disaster our children became strong and kind.” A research paper says more than 30% of the evacuees suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. We were not able to hear any of the voices of such sufferers who might enable visitors to imagine the severe experiences they had. Concerning the increase in the number of thyroid cancer cases, only the researchers who deny the relationship between cancer development and radioactive exposure were introduced. The exhibit describing the Fukushima Innovation Coast project emphasized only positive-sounding aspects, and the voices of locals who remain unconvinced of the advantages of the planned facilities were not introduced. The exhibit indicated that the number of temporary dwellings for evacuees is rapidly decreasing, while voices criticizing the cessation of housing subsidies for evacuees outside officially-specified areas was not mentioned. People’s voices asserting evacuation as a human right, the voices pursuing TEPCO’s responsibilities, the sorrow of losing their hometowns, and the voices demanding compensation for the loss of their hometowns were almost totally ignored. Only the voices that suited the narrative of the restoration planned by the national and prefectural governments were presented. Not only we but also Mr. Watanabe, the guide, lamented the exhibits. Shouldn’t the museum present “memories” in such a manner that the tragedies of the nuclear disaster can be understood, that the memories can be handed on to the future, and that visitors will be encouraged to create a society independent of nuclear power generation?

The evacuation order was only lifted from the area that hosts the museum in 2020, but the dose rate on the premises was 0.03 microSieverts per hour (μSv/h), which suggested that decontamination work had been thoroughly carried out.

The dose rate in Obori was 1.84 μSv/h, highest in the tour

fter the museum, we visited the Obori Soma pottery area in Namie Town. All the residents in this area evacuated after the disaster. We visited a building where the Shunzan Kiln brand potter of the Obori Soma ware used to live and work. It was miserable. The place remained as it was when hit by the earthquake. The clock had stopped, indicating the time of the earthquake, pottery ware had fallen down and broken, and cracks ran along the floor. I spontaneously felt anger about the nuclear disaster welling up inside me, as I realized that the lifestyle that had been passed down for hundreds of years had been completely shattered. Air dose rates at the site were between 1.5 and 1.8 μSv/h, higher than at any other sites we visited during the tour.

According to Mr. Watanabe, there had been 21 kilns here before the disaster, but all of them were ruined. Fourteen potters rebuilt their kilns in the areas to which they migrated. Although the soil in the Obori area can no longer be used, they carry on the Obori Soma pottery craft, procuring soil from other areas. While the damage remains unrestored, the people who evacuated continue to make efforts to maintain their traditions.

Shunzan kiln workshop remains as it was when hit by the earthquake

Pilot soil recycling project in Iitate Village

Our final destination was Nagadoro in Iitate Village, where the soil collected by decontamination work is being used in a pilot recycling project. The evacuation order used to be applied to the entire Iitate Village, but it was lifted at the end of March 2017, with the exception of the Nagadoro district, which remains a difficult-to-return zone due to high air dose rates. In April 2018, the governmental “reconstruction and restoration plan” was approved for “specified reconstruction and restoration bases,” which included Nagadoro. In November of the same year, the Ministry of the Environment launched a pilot soil recycling project in Nagadoro, which consists mainly of two projects: a soil recycling yard and farmland development, and pilot agricultural produce farming. The upper radioactive concentration limit established by the government is 8 kBq/kg for the soil used for recycling, but when the soil is used for a mound to build farmland, the upper limit is 5 kBq/kg. Accordingly, the radioactive concentration of the soil in flexible container bags sent to the recycling yard development here was under 5 kBg/kg. The soil in the bags was firstly tested for radioactive concentration by means of an instrument called a Truckscan®. Soil that passed the test was unbagged by water jetting. It was then cleared of large objects and metal strips, mixed with property changing material as appropriate, sifted, and used as recycled material to produce a mound on which to build farmland.

Pilot flower cultivation project

In the pilot agricultural produce farming project, the radioactive soil that has been gathered from decontamination work and has been through the recycling yard is used to build a mound. The mound is covered with a layer of soil no thinner than 50 cm to further reduce radioactive exposure. When we visited the project site, only flowers, such as eustoma, hydrangeas and roses, were cultivated and no produce was seen. According to data, the radioactive cesium concentration of the produce harvested in the fiscal 2020 and 2021 years was between 0.1 and 2.5 Bq/kg. The area for flower cultivation was small, but mound construction was underway in a remaining large area of ground, and I expected that flowers would be cultivated on a greater scale in the future. It is unknown whether people in Fukushima or Japan want such soil recycling. The project is proceeding without any kind of social discussion. I find such a situation highly problematic.

Dumps and Museums, the Legacy of a Nuclear Disaster

August 20, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi NPS Accident Compensation: Citizens are paying more while NPP operators have had their share reduced!

by Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center · August 4, 2022

By Matsukubo Hajime (CNIC)

Research by CNIC has discovered that the FY2021 share of the general contribution paid each year by the major power companies, including TEPCO, along with the Japan Atomic Power Company and the Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited (a total of 11 companies) to the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation (hereafter “Corporation”) in order to defray compensation and other costs related to the 2011 Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) accident, has been reduced by 29.3 billion yen by the Corporation and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), with no explanation to Japanese citizens.

Japan’s nuclear power damage compensation system imposes a no-fault, unlimited liability on nuclear operators for accident compensations. As funds for this, the Japanese government mandates that the nuclear power operators take out insurance and so on against incidents in which they may be liable for compensation (Fig.1). However, the amount covered by this system is 120 billion yen, a figure far too small to pay out the compensations arising from the 2011 TEPCO FDNPS nuclear accident.

The government therefore established the new Corporation as a mechanism for the government to lend the costs necessary for the decommissioning of the crippled reactors and compensations (Fig.2).

The accident cleanup and compensation costs originally estimated at 11 trillion yen rose to 21.5 trillion yen in FY2016 (Fig.3).

The government bonds issued and allotted to the Corporation by the government to cover the costs of compensations, decontamination and interim storage of radioactive materials amounted to 13.5 trillion yen, the breakdown of which is as follows:

 – 7.9 trillion yen (originally 5.5 trillion yen) in compensation costs to be assigned to reinforcing repayments to the government from the general contribution and TEPCO’s special contribution

– Decontamination costs of 4 trillion yen (thought to be the profits gained from the sale of TEPCO stocks transferred from TEPCO to the government in exchange for one trillion yen)

– 1.6 trillion yen in interim storage costs (paid by the government).

The amount of the general contribution and the contribution ratio are determined each year by the Corporation’s operating committee and approved by the METI Minister. Each year up to FY2019, however, the 163 billion yen total contribution, determined on the basis of the profit levels of the major power companies prior to the nuclear accident, was allocated according to the capacity of the facilities held by each of the companies (Fig.4).

Compensation costs, as noted above, have risen by 2.4 trillion yen from 5.4 trillion yen to 7.9 trillion yen. To accommodate this increase, the general contribution up to the time of the nuclear accident was added onto the consignment fee (a power line user fee included in the power rates for each household, etc.) as a mechanism to recoup the costs (contribution for compensation) over 40 years (approximately 60 billion yen per year) for the purpose of having customers of power companies other than the major power companies also bear the costs, the logic for this being that the general contribution originally “had to be levied from the time commercial NPPs began operating in FY1966.” Recouping costs that were not, for some reason, included in the cost price in the past, regardless of whether or not there was any consumption, is totally unthinkable as a normal commercial act. While the retailing of electrical power has been liberalized, it has only been possible to introduce this system due to the recognition of a monopoly on power transmission and distribution.

The addition to the consignment fee began from the second half of FY2020. The sum recouped in FY2020 was 30.5 billion yen, half of the annual 61 billion yen, and the total general contribution was 193.5 billion yen (163 + 30.5 billion yen). As the annual 61 billion yen was recouped as consignment fees in FY2021, the total should have been 224 billion yen in a normal year. However, the approved total general contribution was 194.7 billion yen – a reduction of the contribution from major power companies of 29.3 billion yen.

A written question was submitted by Lower House Representative Yamazaki Makoto (Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan) to confirm this fact. The reply from the government stated that the contribution received from the major power companies was “163 billion yen in 2020 and 133.7 billion yen in 2021, the difference in the sums being 29.3 billion yen.” Moreover, a summary of the minutes of the Corporation’s operating committee contains a comment from the major power companies to the effect that the business situation is difficult due to an intensification of competition, etc.

This reduction in the amount of the contribution has broadly the following four issues. 1. While imposing on the citizens of the country a “past contribution” that would be unthinkable in normal commercial acts, the ones who should be footing the bills, the major power companies, are having their share of the contribution reduced behind the scenes. 2. Estimating the degree of the reduction for each of the 11 companies, it seems that, overall, each of them is now paying about 80% of what they did prior to the reduction. Nevertheless, the Chubu Power Company’s contribution has risen to 102.8% of what it was before. As Chubu Power Company decommissioned Units 1 and 2 of their Hamaoka NPP before the nuclear accident, their contribution was lightened at the time of the determination of the contributions in 2011. If this reduction has been cancelled, one could say that a penalty has been imposed on them for decommissioning their reactors. 3. With the exception of Hokuriku Power Company and Chugoku Power Company, the other seven major power companies have included the general contribution prior to the reduction in the cost price of their power. That is, the customers of these power companies have had the general contribution added onto their power rates. The total reduction for the remaining six companies who have had their contributions reduced this time amounts to 25.8 billion yen. These six companies are treating the reduced amounts as company profits while billing their customers for the general contribution. 4. The issued government bonds are non-interest bonds, but when they are redeemed, the government will borrow the funds from banks and others to hand over to the Corporation. The interest and other costs payable at that time will come from the national treasury, which means from taxes. The auditor’s report for 2017 estimated the burden on the government of the interest payments to be somewhere in the order of 131.8 to 218.2 billion yen. If the general contributions are reduced, the repayment period will be longer, causing the burden of interest payments and other costs to rise.

When the legal amendment adding past contributions to the consignment fee was carried out, the House of Representatives Committee on Economy, Trade and Industry attached an ancillary resolution stating, “Steps shall be taken to enable third-party checks, such as full information disclosure, etc.” It is unacceptable that the Corporation and METI are making these kinds of deceptive reductions in contributions.

source: https://cnic.jp/english/?p=6193

August 20, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

More Cases of Stomach Cancer in Fukushima Prefecture.

Stomach cancer, which has been confirmed in Fukushima Prefecture for eight consecutive years, was also found to be more common among A-bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki

August 10, 2022

Stomach Cancer Incidence Rate Rises among Women in Fukushima Prefecture

Radiation levels measured at Nagadoro, Iitate Village, which we visited for the first time on May 15, 2011, two months after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, after carefully contaminating and protecting ourselves. This meter could only measure up to 10 microsieverts/hour, and the radiation level was “9.99 microsieverts/hour. ゙lt/h” was shown and swept away.

On May 27, 2019 national cancer registry data was released on the government statistics website e-Stat.

(https://www.e-stat.go.jp/stat-search/files?page=1&layout=datalist&toukei=00450173&tstat=000001133323&cycle=7&year=20190&month=0&tclass1=000001133363&tclass2=000001133368&tclass3=000001133370&result_back=1&tclass4val=0)

Following up on my article that appeared on this website on August 26, 2011 (“Stomach Cancer in Fukushima Prefecture”: Confirmation of the 7th consecutive year of “high incidence of stomach cancer” — Should the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident no longer be regarded as a “major pollution incident”? (–) (https://level7online.jp/?p=4608), we compared the “National Incidence Rate of Stomach Cancer by Age Group” with the same rate in Fukushima Prefecture, based on the published data for 19 years.

Table 1 shows the results. Various age groups for both men and women exceeded the national average. In particular, in 2007, there were many age groups among women that exceeded the national average. Some of the age groups are double the national average (40-44 years).

Table 1.

On the other hand, only three age groups (0-4, 20-24, and 25-29) were below the national average. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to the “increase in the incidence rate of stomach cancer among women in Fukushima Prefecture” over the past few years.

Next, we conducted a comparison with the actual number of cases of gastric cancer in Fukushima Prefecture, assuming that the same rate of gastric cancer is occurring in Fukushima Prefecture as in the rest of Japan. This is a method to calculate the “standardized incidence ratio” (SIR) using epidemiological methods. The national average is set at 100, and if it is higher than the national average, it means above the national average, and if it is lower than the national average, it means below the national average.

The following is the result of the calculation of SIR for the period from 2008 to 2007 for stomach cancer in Fukushima Prefecture.

Stomach cancer] Number of cases in Fukushima Prefecture SIR

Male: 1279 88.3 in 2008

Male in 2009: 1366 94.1

10-year male: 1500 101.1

11-year male: 1391 92.2

12-year male: 1672 110.6

13-year male, 1659 110.9

14-year male, 1711 119.3

15-year male, 1654 116.6

16-year male, 1758 116.3

17-year man 1737 120.0

18years male, 1685 120.0

19-year man 1743 126.9

2008 female 602 86.6

2009 female 640 94.2

10-year female 700 100.9

11year female 736 100.9

12-year woman 774 109.2

13-year girl 767 109.9

14-year girl 729 109.0

15-year girl 769 120.3

16-year girl 957 139.4

17-year girl 778 119.6

18-year girl 744 118.4

19-year female: 817 131.8

The National Cancer Center considers a prefecture to have a “high cancer incidence rate” when the SIR exceeds 110. The SIR for stomach cancer in Fukushima Prefecture has been higher than the national average for both men and women since 2000, and the latest data for 2007 shows that the SIR for men was 12.6.9 and for women 131.8. The latest data from 2007 shows an abnormally high SIR of 12.6.9 for men and 131.8 for women.

We then tried to find the “95% confidence interval” for this SIR. This is one of the validation tasks in epidemiology, where the upper limit (or more precisely, the “upper limit of the estimate”) and the lower limit (or the “lower limit of the estimate”) of each SIR are calculated, and if the lower limit is 10 If the lower limit exceeds 0, it means that the increase is not merely increasing, but is a “statistically significant multiple occurrence” that cannot be considered as a coincidence in terms of probability.

The results are shown in [Table 2]. In Fukushima Prefecture, the incidence of stomach cancer in both men and women has been “significantly high” for eight consecutive years since 2000, and SIR has also been on the rise, showing no sign that the incidence of stomach cancer is slowing down. As is clear from the number of cases in Table 2, while the number of stomach cancer cases nationwide has continued to decline in recent years, the number of cases in Fukushima Prefecture, on the contrary, has increased.

Table 2

Incidentally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. published a report on the minimum incubation period for cancer, Minimum The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has published a report on the minimum latency of cancer, Minimum Latency & Types or Categories of Cancer (hereinafter referred to as the “CDC Report”). The CDC report on the “Minimum Latency & Types or Categories of Cancer” (hereinafter referred to as “CDC Report”) lists, in order from shortest to longest, the following

Leukemia, malignant lymphoma: 0.4 years (146 days)

Childhood cancer (including pediatric thyroid cancer): 1 year

Adult thyroid cancer: 2.5 years

All solid cancers including lung cancer: 4 years

Mesothelioma] 11 years

and so on [Table 3]. According to this CDC report, the shortest latency period for stomach cancer is “4 years.

Table 3

In other words, 12,642 Fukushima Prefecture residents who have contracted stomach cancer since 2015, four years after the occurrence of the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, include 12,642 people from the same nuclear power plant. It is possible that some of the 12,642 Fukushima residents who have developed stomach cancer since 2015, four years after the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, developed the disease as a result of exposure to toxic substances released by the accident.

Prior to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, until 2010, stomach cancer SIRs among Fukushima residents were equal to or lower than the national average. The “excess” of the SIRs was the “excess” of the national average. It is eagerly awaited that the correlation and causal relationship between the accident and carcinogenesis will be verified from the viewpoint that the “excess” number of stomach cancer patients may include victims of the nuclear power plant accident.

Both the number of thyroid cancer cases and the incidence rate of thyroid cancer in males have increased.

Next, we will examine thyroid cancer, which is a concern because of its high incidence among young people, and the CDC report indicates that the minimum incubation period is 2.5 years for adults and 1 year for children. 1 year for children.

The incidence rates of thyroid cancer by age group and the number of cases by age group calculated from these rates are shown in Tables 4 and 5. In 2019, eight years after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, thyroid cancer was still confirmed in young people.

Table 4
Table 5

Among females, 2 were confirmed in the 10-14 age group, 8 in the 15-19 age group, 5 in the 20-24 age group, and 6 in the 25-29 age group. The total for all age groups was 199, meaning that patients who were under the age of 20 at the time of the accident in 2011 accounted for about 8% of the total at the lowest estimate and about 11% at the highest estimate [Table 5].

On the other hand, 4 males were identified in the 10-14 age group, 6 in the 15-19 age group, 1 in the 20-24 age group, and 2 in the 25-29 age group. The total number of patients in all age groups is 76, which means that patients who were under the age of 20 at the time of the accident in 2011 accounted for about 14% of the total at the lowest estimate and about 17% at the highest estimate [Table 5].

The SIR and its “95% confidence interval” for thyroid cancer are shown in Table 6. In both cases, the minimum incubation period for thyroid cancer, 2.5 years, had elapsed since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011.

Table 6.

In the latest 19-year period, the number of cases and incidence rate of thyroid cancer in Fukushima Prefecture increased for males. Both the number of cases and incidence rate decreased for females.

Significant “high incidence” continues for gall bladder and bile duct cancer.

No trend of increased incidence was observed for malignant lymphoma and leukemia ([Table 7] and Table 8]).

Table 7
Table 8

The most recent 2019 data also showed a continued abnormality in gall bladder and bile duct cancer, which is classified as a “solid cancer” according to the CDC report, with a minimum latency period of “4 years” (Table 8). The minimum latency period is 4 years.

Significant incidence” of gall bladder and bile duct cancer was observed in men in 2010 and in women in 2009, before the nuclear accident. After 2016, when the minimum incubation period of “4 years” has passed, “significantly high incidence” was confirmed in both men and women. The incidence was “high” for four consecutive years for males and six consecutive years for females ([Table 9]).

Table 9

Prostate cancer, which was found to be “significantly more frequent” for three consecutive years from 2004 to 2006, had its “more frequent” status eliminated in the latest 2019 data. Nevertheless, the SIR remains above the national average, so continued attention should be paid to this issue ([Table 10]).

Table 10

Finally, regarding ovarian cancer. The minimum incubation period is “4 years” (Table 11). Although “significantly more cases” were observed in 2013 and 2014 before the minimum incubation period, the SIR has been below the national average since then. However, the latest data for 2019 shows that SIR exceeded the national average for the first time in five years, and the number of cases in the prefecture continues to increase slightly, so it is important to pay attention to the data.

Table 11

Stomach cancer was also on the rise among A-bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Toshihide Tsuda, a professor at the Graduate School of Okayama University who specializes in epidemiology and causal inference, took a look at these data. Professor Tsuda said.

The situation is more severe than we had expected, and it has exceeded our projections by quite a bit. Not only thyroid cancer, which has already shown a clear increase, but also other cancers that are now on the rise are cancers that are also noticeably on the rise in the data on A-bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I feel that it is necessary to make appropriate preparations, quickly formulate countermeasures and enhanced risk communication, and discuss how to respond to the situation. I suspect that the actual radiation exposure was considerably higher than what has been publicized.”

The Ministry of the Environment’s “Uniform Basic Data on Radiation Health Effects, etc.” (FY 2008 edition) states

The Ministry of the Environment’s “Uniform Basic Data on Radiation Health Effects” (FY 2008 edition) states, “In adults, the organs most likely to develop cancer due to radiation exposure are the bone marrow, colon, breast, lung, and stomach.

(Figure below). In other words, an increase in stomach cancer has been observed among A-bomb survivors.

Ministry of the Environment, “Unified Basic Data on Radiation Health Effects, etc.” (FY 2008 edition)

To be sure, we also examined breast cancer and lung cancer, which are considered to be more common among A-bomb survivors, and found no “significant increase” in the Fukushima Prefecture data through 2007. However, a slight upward trend was observed for breast cancer in males, a rare cancer, since 2004 (5 cases in 2002, 7 cases in 2003, 10 cases in 2004, 11 cases in 2005, 10 cases in 2006, and 7 cases in 2007). The number of cases of breast cancer in the United States is also reported.

The number of people who have been living in the area since the last year (October 2021) is still very high.

Kenichi Hasegawa (68 years old), a former dairy farmer in Iitate Village, who passed away from thyroid cancer last October (2021), revealed in February 2008 that “a number of people in the village have contracted stomach cancer and died one after another,” and said the following.

People in their late fifties and sixties, younger than me, are dying. Most of them have cancer. This was not the case in Iitate Village before the nuclear accident.

They died at the same age as us, so it is even more memorable. And it is not long after the cancer is found that it gets worse and worse and they pass away.

If you get cancer when you are 80 or 90 years old, you may think that it can’t be helped and that you have fulfilled your destiny, but that is not the case if you are in your 60s,” he said.

Mr. Hasegawa himself had less than a year from the time he found out he had cancer to the time of his death.

In November 2002, Mr. Hasegawa and about 2,800 other Iitate villagers filed a claim for compensation from TEPCO for health concerns caused by high initial radiation exposure due to the delay in evacuation. In November 2002, they filed an application for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) with the Center for the Resolution of Nuclear Damage Disputes. The “fears” of that time are now beginning to become a reality.

Some scientists and journalists, by the way, have been reporting on the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) without any check of the data from the National Cancer Registry. (UNSCEAR).

“It is unlikely that there are any future health effects directly attributable to radiation exposure.

There are those who stubbornly try to deny the occurrence of cancer due to the nuclear accident, waving the UNSCEAR report as if it were a “banner”. However, the UNSCEAR report is not based on actual measurements due to the fact that Fukushima and other prefectures prevented the survey of radiation doses immediately after the accident. The UNSCEAR report, however, is not a fact in itself.

If you call yourself a scientist or a journalist and really want to deny the occurrence of cancer due to the nuclear accident, you should verify it with your own hands using the National Cancer Registry data, which is the “facts themselves,” instead of relying only on the estimated reports made by others. The national cancer registry data is also data for this purpose.

Source in Japanese: Level 7 News

August 14, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Legal Battles Continue over TEPCO and Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Cause.

PRESS CONFERENCE: Yuichi Kaido and Hiroyuki Kawai, Co-chairs of the National Association of Lawyers for a Nuclear Power Free Japan Yui Kimura, Secretary-General, TEPCO Shareholder Derivative Suit (The speech and Q & A will be in Japanese with English interpretation.) 11:0012:00 Monday, August 8, 2022

August 14, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

No direct health effects seen from Fukushima nuclear crisis, ex-U.N. panel chair says

The U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation is everything but independent, and its report written mostly by Mikhail Balonov is full of baloney!

A boy is screened for thyroid cancer in Hirata, Fukushima Prefecture, in November 2020

July 20, 2022

The former chair of a U.N. panel on the effects of atomic radiation has reiterated the committee’s view that radiation exposure from the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima Prefecture had no direct adverse health effects on local people.

“The accident led to no adverse documented public health effects that were directly attributable to radiation exposure from the accident,” Gillian Hirth told a news conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Noting that the investigation by the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation is independent and based on up-to-date data, Hirth said the conclusion is “unlikely to change significantly in the foreseeable future.”

Hirth observed that “future cancer rates that could be inferred from radiation exposure (from the Fukushima accident) are unlikely to be discernible.”

The nuclear accident, triggered by the powerful earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, happened at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings’ Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Regarding an increase in new thyroid cancer cases among local children, Hirth said that the rise “was judged to be the result of extensive ultrasensitive screening.”

The news conference was also attended by Mikhail Balonov, the main author of a report released by the panel in March last year.

Regarding the view that the report does not include enough data taken just after the accident, Balonov said that the impact of radiation on health is not something that occurs immediately.

While no adverse health effects have been observed until now, monitoring should continue, Balonov said.

Visits by officials related to the U.N. committee, including Hirth and Balonov, had been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They are set to attend a public meeting in the city of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on Thursday.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/07/20/national/un-fukushima-health-effects/

July 22, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

VOX POPULI: Power company execs should think of liability if accident occurs

Plaintiffs and their lawyers hold a news conference on July 13 after the Tokyo District Court ordered four former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. to pay 13 trillion yen in compensation.

July 19, 2022

I see something akin to chaos in the notably varied conclusions different courts reached in their verdicts of the 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which Tokyo Electric Power Co. operates. 

Some courts ruled the government’s long-range assessment, which pointed out at an early date the possibility of a major tsunami, was scientifically reliable, while others raised their doubts.

Some verdicts severely questioned the responsibility of plant operators for failing to implement tsunami countermeasures, while other courts ruled that the government could not be held responsible as a regulatory authority because the disaster would have occurred no matter what countermeasures were in place.

Judges are human. As long as their decisions are made independently, I believe it is only natural that their opinions vary.

But as in a kaleidoscope where ordered patterns are created out of disorder, it may be possible to see a broad pattern emerge from the chaotic jumble of diverse court decisions.

When an accident occurs at a nuclear power plant, the government’s responsibility is not questioned too severely, but the utility and its executives are made to pay a huge price.

The Tokyo District Court on July 13 ordered former TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and three other former top executives to pay 13 trillion yen (about $94 billion) in damages.

If this ruling holds, the defendants will probably have to sell off their entire personal assets and, if necessary, eventually file for personal bankruptcy. That is the sheer size of the compensation they will have to pay.

The industrial-bureaucratic-academic complex dealing with nuclear power is dubbed Genshiryoku Mura (Nuclear power village) in Japanese. The “villagers” share common interests, but they do not share a common destiny.

I wonder how TEPCO’s current executives feel about the reality that has emerged from the court rulings to date.

And the government, whose destiny remains independent of the village’s, has started calling louder for nuclear power plants to be brought back online.

I respectfully suggest to utility executives that they think very carefully, as many times as needed, about how much 13 trillion yen actually is.

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14673447

July 22, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

4 former executives blamed for Fukushima nuclear disaster and ordered to pay $97 billion to shareholders

After more than 11 years since the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, four former heads of Tokyo Electric Power Co. have been ordered to pay $97 billion for the damages caused by the disaster.

July 14, 2022

Four former heads of Japanese utility Tokyo Electric Power Co. have been ordered to pay 13.32 trillion yen ($97 billion) for the damages caused by the Mar. 11, 2011, Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown, as the country continues to struggle to deal with the aftermath of the disaster.

In the first case to lead to a verdict against TEPCO executives, presiding judge Yoshihide Asakura found that the leaders of the company at the time had failed to properly prepare for a tsunami-related accident.

The civil lawsuit, brought on by 48 TEPCO shareholders, claimed the three reactor meltdowns could have been avoided if measures had been taken to prevent flooding in the plant’s main buildings and critical equipment rooms.

The eye-popping $97 billion verdict is the largest ever awarded by a court for a civil lawsuit, according to the Japan Times.

11 years on

The aftermath of the nuclear disaster can still be felt in Japan and the rest of the world more than 11 years later. Scientists continue working to decommission and decontaminate the plant, which still has more than 1.24 million tonnes of water contaminated with radioactivity on-site. TEPCO has recently been campaigning to dump the water into the surrounding ocean—a plan met with pushback from environmentalists and the local fishing industry.

Many residents are also still not able to return to their homes near the site. Of the 154,000 people who were evacuated after the nuclear meltdown, 37,000 were still unable to return home due to the risk of radiation as of 2021.

A spokesperson for TEPCO told Fortune, “We deeply apologize for the immense burden and deep concern the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station of TEPCO Holdings, Inc. is causing local residents and society at large.”

The spokesperson declined to comment on the litigation against TEPCO.

The lawsuit

The civil lawsuit was initially filed against five former TEPCO officials—including former chair Tsunehisa Katsumata and former president Masataka Shimizu—and centered on whether senior TEPCO management could have predicted a serious nuclear accident hitting the facility after a powerful tsunami. The court found one of the five executives not responsible in the civil suit: Akio Komori, a former managing executive officer and director of the Fukushima plant.

The plaintiffs charged the TEPCO executives with ignoring recommendations to take stronger tsunami protection measures and initially sought 22 trillion yen ($158 billion) in compensation to completely neutralize the site. The plaintiffs sought 8 trillion yen to decommission the plant completely, another 6 trillion to decontaminate the site and build interim nuclear waste storage, and 8 trillion for victim compensation.

In the case, the executives argued that the data presented to them in a long-term government assessment of possible tsunami damage published in 2002 was unreliable, and they could not have foreseen the massive tsunami that triggered the disaster.

The Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami ended up being the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan and the fourth most powerful in the world, and would eventually claim 19,747 deaths, with 2,556 people still missing as of 2021.

Even if it was possible to predict the damage, the defendants argued, they didn’t have the time to take the needed countermeasures.

In the end, the judge ruled in favor of the prosecution, saying the company’s countermeasures against the tsunami “fundamentally lacked safety awareness and a sense of responsibility.” According to Kyodo News Agency, the defendants will be expected to pay as much as their assets allow.  

Criminal complaint

This is not the first lawsuit brought against the TEPCO executives. The same prosecutors filed a criminal lawsuit against three of the five defendants—Katsumata, former vice president Ichiro Takekuro, and vice president Sakae Muto—in the Tokyo District Court of criminal responsibility. The prosecutors at the time sought a five-year prison term for each executive.

The three executives were found not guilty of professional negligence, as they could not have foreseen the huge tsunami, and cleared by the court in the 2019 ruling. Prosecutors have since appealed the decision; a ruling is expected in early 2023.

July 16, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear disaster: ex-bosses of owner Tepco ordered to pay ¥13tn

Firm’s president at time of disaster among four defendants found liable for $95 billion in damage by Tokyo court

The then Tepco president, Masataka Shimizu, left, and its executive vice-president Takashi Fujimoto enter a press conference on 13 March 2011

A court in Japan has ordered former executives of Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) to pay ¥13tn (£80bn) in damages for failing to prevent a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011.

The ruling by Tokyo district court centred on whether senior Tepco management could have predicted a serious nuclear accident striking the facility after a powerful tsunami.

Four defendants, including Tepco’s president at the time of the disaster, Masataka Shimizu, were ordered to pay the sum, while a fifth was not found liable for damages, according to the Kyodo news agency.

The plant in Fukushima, 150 miles north of Tokyo, experienced meltdowns in three of its six reactors after it was struck by a tsunami on 11 March 2011, flooding the backup generators.

The tsunami, which was triggered by a magnitude-9 earthquake, killed more than 18,000 people along Japan’s north-east coast.

The meltdowns at Fukushima, the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chornobyl 25 years earlier, caused massive radiation leaks and forced the evacuation of more than 150,000 people living nearby – some of who have only recently been given permission to return to their homes.

The lawsuit, which was filed in 2012 by 48 Tepco shareholders, is the first to find company executives liable for damages connected to the Fukushima disaster, which shook Japan’s faith in nuclear energy and resulted in widespread closures of atomic power plants.

The plaintiffs had sought a record ¥22tn in damages. The executives found liable are unlikely to have the capacity to pay the full amount, according to media reports, but will be expected to pay as much as their assets allow.

Tepco did not comment on the ruling, saying it would not respond to individual lawsuits, according to Kyodo.

The court said the company’s countermeasures against tsunami “fundamentally lacked safety awareness and a sense of responsibility”.

Tepco has argued it was powerless to take precautions against a tsunami of the size that struck in March 2011, and that it had done everything possible to protect the plant. But an internal company document revealed in 2015 that it had been aware of the need to improve the facility’s defences against tsunami more than two years before the disaster, but had failed to take action.

Plaintiffs also cited a government report that showed Tepco had predicted in June 2008 that the Fukushima plant could be hit by tsunami waves of up to 15.7 metres in height after a major offshore earthquake.

The court said the government’s assessment had been reliable enough to oblige Tepco to take preventive measures.

July 16, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Former Tepco executives ordered to pay $95 billion in damages over Fukushima nuclear disaster

The ruling, in a civil case brought by Tepco shareholders, marks the first time a court has found former executives responsible for the nuclear disaster, local media reports said.

Tanks storing treated radioactive water at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March.

The Tokyo district court on Wednesday ordered four former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) to pay 13 trillion yen ($95 billion) in damages to the operator of the wrecked Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, national broadcaster NHK reported.

The ruling, in a civil case brought by Tepco shareholders, marks the first time a court has found former executives responsible for the nuclear disaster, local media reports said.

The court judged that the executives could have prevented the disaster if they had exercised due care, the reports said.

A Tepco spokesperson declined to comment on the ruling.

“We understand that a ruling on the matter was handed down today, but we will refrain from answering questions on individual court cases,” the spokesperson said.

The ruling marks a departure from a criminal trial ruling in 2019, where the Tokyo district court found three Tepco executives not guilty of professional negligence, judging that they could not have foreseen the huge tsunami that struck the nuclear power plant.

The criminal case has been appealed and the Tokyo high court is expected to rule on the case next year.

The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power disaster, triggered by a tsunami that hit the east coast of Japan in March 2011, was one of the world’s worst and generated massive clean-up, compensation and decommissioning costs for Tepco.

The civil lawsuit, brought by Tepco shareholders in 2012, demanded that five former Tepco executives pay the beleaguered company 22 trillion yen in compensation for ignoring warnings of a possible tsunami.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/fukushima-nuclear-disaster-former-tepco-executives-95-billion-rcna37980?fbclid=IwAR3Cytt-lQbxa6ae3LSIjo4Bj0zfmu0s0wjhUMMH4PVefC5oKk4x9UlFWjs

July 16, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-TEPCO execs found liable for damages over Fukushima nuclear crisis

Lawyers of plaintiffs and others hold up signs saying “victory for shareholders” (R) and the like outside Tokyo District Court on July 13, 2022, after the court ordered former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to pay the utility some 13 trillion yen ($95 billion) in total damages for failing to prevent the 2011 crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. (Kyodo)

July 13, 2022

A Tokyo court on Wednesday ordered former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to pay the utility some 13 trillion yen ($95 billion) in total damages for failing to prevent the 2011 crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The ruling in favor of shareholders who filed the lawsuit in 2012 is the first to find former TEPCO executives liable for compensation after the nuclear plant in northeastern Japan caused one of the worst nuclear disasters in history triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

The Tokyo District Court’s Presiding Judge Yoshihide Asakura said the utility’s countermeasures for the tsunami “fundamentally lacked safety awareness and a sense of responsibility,” ruling that the executives failed to perform their duties.

If tsunami resilience work had been conducted to prevent flooding of main structures, TEPCO could have prevented the disaster, in which power was lost and reactor cooling functions were crippled, causing reactor meltdowns, according to the ruling.

Among five defendants — former Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, former vice presidents Sakae Muto and Ichiro Takekuro, former President Masataka Shimizu and former Managing Director Akio Komori — the court found all but Komori liable to pay the damages.

“It’s a historic verdict that deserves lasting praise,” Hiroyuki Kawai, a lawyer representing the shareholders, said in a press conference. “It showed company executives have such a heavy responsibility and could even be held liable for damages if an accident occurs.”

The damages of over 13 trillion yen are likely be the largest ever in a civil lawsuit in Japan, though it would be realistically difficult for the company to collect them from the former executives.

Nearly 50 shareholders had sought a total of around 22 trillion yen ($160 billion) in damages.

TEPCO declined to comment on the ruling, saying it will refrain from responding to matters related to individual lawsuits.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno reiterated the government’s policy to continue to use nuclear energy despite the disaster, saying, “We will make safety our top priority and make utmost efforts to resolve the Japanese people’s concerns.”

The focal point of the trial was whether the management’s decisions on tsunami countermeasures were appropriate after a TEPCO unit estimated in 2008 that a tsunami of up to 15.7 meters could hit the plant based on the government’s long-term earthquake assessment made public in 2002.

The shareholders said the government’s evaluation was the “best scientific assessment,” but the management postponed taking preventive steps, such as installing a seawall.

The former executives’ lawyers said the assessment lacked reliability and the accident occurred when the management was asking a civil engineering association to study whether the utility should incorporate the evaluation into its countermeasures.

The court judged that the government’s assessment was reliable enough to oblige the company to take measures against tsunami. “It is extremely irrational and unforgivable” to put off a decision to act on the government study, the ruling said.

In a criminal trial in 2019, defendants were acquitted on the grounds they could not foresee a giant tsunami triggering a nuclear disaster.

Yukie Yoshida, 46, who was forced to evacuate her home near the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, said, “My life won’t change even if the damages are paid to TEPCO,” adding, “I just want to go back to my home as soon as possible.”

More than 15,000 people lost their lives after the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami caused widespread damage in the country’s northeast and triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear complex.

Some 38,000 people still remain displaced as of March due mainly to the aftermath of the world’s worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

There is still a no-go zone near the Fukushima plant where decommissioning work is scheduled to continue until sometime between 2041 and 2051.

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2022/07/cb691f510ec1-breaking-news-ex-tepco-execs-found-liable-for-damages-over-fukushima-crisis.html?fbclid=IwAR0kraF6aNFZWbq-C1DeIGn6yDWNbH-rH0F-QT64u3CgbSkuOyDWUzJlkbs

July 16, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Court orders former TEPCO managers to pay damages for Fukushima plant losses

July 13, 2022

A Tokyo court has ruled that former managers of Tokyo Electric Power Company must pay damages to the utility, as demanded by its shareholders.

The shareholders claimed the company incurred massive losses from the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

They include costs for decommissioning the plant’s crippled reactors and compensation for local residents who had to evacuate.

The shareholders demanded 22 trillion yen, or more than 160 billion dollars, from five individuals who held managerial posts.

On Wednesday, the Tokyo District Court ordered four of them to pay a total of 13.3 trillion yen, or about 97 billion dollars.

The trial focused on the reliability of a long-term assessment of possible seismic activities issued by a government panel in 2002, nine years prior to the accident.

The shareholders claimed the assessment was reliable, and that the managers should have done more to safeguard the plant against a huge tsunami that they knew would come.

The former managers, on the other hand, claimed the assessment had low credibility, so they could not foresee damage from a massive tsunami.

They argued that even if they did, they would not have had time to take necessary preventive measures.

The shareholders filed their lawsuit in 2012. In October last year, the presiding judge inspected the plant compound for the first time.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220713_25/?fbclid=IwAR1Jtav1Ym8atd68tQqNvVwY6ly3pHSeyOL63j-P-pMh9YNz0h5Tq9yYCzs

July 16, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why was the tsunami countermeasure postponed? TEPCO resisted the NISA’s request for 40 minutes.

July 12, 2022
<The “warning” that was not utilized

 On July 13, the Tokyo District Court will issue a ruling on a shareholder lawsuit seeking to hold five former TEPCO executives responsible for the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The possibility of a giant tsunami off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture surfaced nearly 10 years before the accident occurred. Why were tsunami countermeasures continually postponed? Ahead of the verdict, we take a look back at the evidence presented in court. (Keiichi Ozawa)

 TEPCO Shareholders’ Suit 48 shareholders are demanding that former TEPCO chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and five others pay approximately 22 trillion yen in compensation to TEPCO for damages, decommissioning costs, and other losses caused by the former management’s failure to take tsunami countermeasures following the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. The other defendants are former president Masataka Shimizu, former vice president Ichiro Takekuro, former vice president Sakae Muto, and former managing director Akio Komori. Katsumata, Takekuro, and Muto were indicted on charges of manslaughter in connection with the nuclear accident, but the Tokyo District Court ruled in 2007 that they were not guilty. In June, the Supreme Court ruled against the government’s responsibility in a lawsuit against nuclear power plant evacuees and confirmed that TEPCO must pay a total of approximately 1.4 billion yen in compensation to plaintiffs in four lawsuits in Fukushima, Gunma, Chiba, and Ehime.
 In July 2002, the government’s Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion released a “long-term assessment” of earthquake forecasts, including those for the area off Fukushima Prefecture. The reliability of this long-term assessment is one of the points of contention in the lawsuit.
 The long-term assessment is not a finding, but an opinion.
 At the oral argument last July, Sakae Mutoh, former vice president of the defendant, stood in front of the witness stand and emphasized that the long-term evaluation is not a finding but an opinion. The former management team claims that the long-term assessment was not reliable enough to determine the tsunami countermeasures, as some experts disagreed with the assessment.
 In August 2002, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) requested TEPCO to estimate the tsunami based on the long-term assessment. However, an e-mail sent by a TEPCO official to the relevant parties states that the company “resisted the request for about 40 minutes.

Regarding a request from the then Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) for an estimate based on a long-term evaluation, a TEPCO representative reported in an e-mail to the relevant parties that he “resisted for about 40 minutes” (the e-mail material was provided by freelance journalist Takashi Soeda).

NISA further instructed TEPCO to investigate how the long-term assessment was prepared, but the person in charge merely sent an e-mail inquiry to Kenji Satake, a member of the promotion headquarters (now director of the Earthquake Research Institute of the University of Tokyo), who was skeptical about the occurrence of a tsunami off Fukushima Prefecture. The NISA did not pursue TEPCO any further.


 Later, in December 2004, a tsunami caused by an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, submerged a nuclear power plant in India. The plaintiffs claimed that they could have learned from this accident, but TEPCO did not take any action.


 In September 2006, the “Guidelines for the Examination of Seismic Design” for nuclear power plants were revised to include tsunami countermeasures, and the NISA was assigned to conduct “seismic backchecks. In October of the same year, the NISA gathered together the personnel in charge of the power companies and instructed them to “promptly study tsunami countermeasures and take action.


 At the time, the tsunami height expected at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was 5.7 meters. The height of the tsunami that the facility could withstand was the same 5.7 meters, making it the plant with the least margin of safety in the nation. Even so, TEPCO did not initiate countermeasures. The Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office’s report to the head of the NISA’s review team, submitted in the lawsuit, states, “(TEPCO) is really reluctant to incur costs. Frankly, I was angry at the slow response.


 In response to such backward-looking attitude on the part of the former management, the plaintiffs said, “If there is a warning with reasonable credibility, we should take measures for the time being. The attitude of wasting time while leaving it unattended is unacceptable.


 In 2008, TEPCO took a heavy stance. It sought advice from Fumihiko Imamura, a professor of tsunami engineering at Tohoku University and an expert in civil engineering, and began to study tsunami countermeasures. The issue was also discussed at the “Gozen Conference,” which was attended by the managing board and former TEPCO chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, among others.


 In March of the same year, however, the situation changed when the height of the tsunami was estimated based on a long-term assessment. The tsunami was 15.7 meters high, nearly three times the previous height. The policy to proceed with countermeasures began to waver once again.
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/article/188953?fbclid=IwAR3JUUbELPYESXCxZuw7hZA1YlbR1ILncO3VyTaMQFAEGASEF4sv8rFCqnE

July 16, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment