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  • » 07/05/2012, 00.00

    JAPAN

    Fukushima "a man-made disaster"



    The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission presents its report on the 11 March 2011 tragedy. Blame does not lie with the earthquake or the tsunami but with the "serious deficiencies in the response to the accident by Tepco, regulators and the government".

    Tokyo (AsiaNews) - The Fukushima nuclear accident of 11 March 2011 was "man-made" caused by human error and "cannot be regarded as a natural disaster," said the Japanese parliamentary commission set up to investigate the matter. The accident "was a profoundly manmade disaster that could and should have been foreseen and prevented". The report found "serious deficiencies in the response to the accident by Tepco, regulators and the government".

    The ten-member Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC) chaired by Tokyo University professor emeritus Kiyoshi Kurokawa slams the nuclear plant's entire control system and government supervision. The "accident was clearly 'manmade,'" and "The government, the regulators, [and] Tepco management lacked [. . .] the mindset to" protect people and society.

    The earthquake and the tsunami that hit the coastline of Fukushima Prefecture causing the partial meltdown of the core in one of the nuclear reactors were manageable. The "accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and [private plant operator] Tepco, and the lack of governance by said parties."

    On 11 March, the plant was vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis. Yet, even though they had plenty of opportunities to adopt adequate measures, regulators and Tepco deliberately delayed their decision and failed to take protective action.

    The report does not blame nuclear power per se. In order to meet its energy needs, the authorities have built almost 50 nuclear reactors since the end of the Second World War despite the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They were all shut down after Fukushima on the wave of emotions generated by the disaster. At the same time, the government ordered their overhaul.

    Things are changing now. In the absence of nuclear power, Japan's energy supplies declined by 30 per cent at a time when its GDP took a nose dive.

    Under Japan's current Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, orders were issued to restart two reactors with the PM assuming "ultimate responsibility" for the decision.

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    See also

    14/06/2011 JAPAN
    Government to help Tepco pay damages for Fukushima
    A bill was adopted this morning to provide financial aid to help company meet tens of thousands of damage claims. It still needs parliamentary approval.

    21/08/2013 JAPAN
    Fukushima leaks radioactive water. Government faces nuclear emergency
    After the Japanese executive’s admission Tepco raises the situation of the eastern coasts of the country to a "level 3", or "serious accident". In recent days, more than 300 tons of radioactive water has leaked from a tank at the nuclear power plant affected by the earthquake of 11 March 2011.

    02/08/2012 JAPAN
    Class action by 1,300 residents opens doors for prosecution in Fukushima disaster case
    Prosecutors take aim at the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), including its ex chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata. Human errors and negligence by company executives and safety officials are under examination. More than 30 individuals are being investigated. Company has not yet released a public statement.

    28/03/2011 JAPAN
    Fukushima still out of control: months or years to return to normal
    Radioactive levels in the sea close to the reactors 5 and 6 grows, while there are problems to reactivate the normal cooling system. A British expert says: "The complexity of the situation is certainly equal to that of Chernobyl."

    05/05/2011 JAPAN
    Fukushima, for the first time a group of technicians enter the nuclear reactor
    They will install a ventilation system to filter the radiation in the air and repair the cooling system damaged by the earthquake and tsunami. TEPCO says it will gain control of the situation within a year. Toll rises to 14 thousand.



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