Japan, TEPCO 'ignored nuclear accident risks'

Japanese officials and Tokyo Electric Power ignored the risk of an atomic accident because they believed in the "myth of nuclear safety", a government-backed report on the Fukushima crisis said Monday.

The study, compiled by a panel of scholars, journalists, lawyers and engineers, also said officials were poorly trained to deal with the crisis after the plant's reactors went into meltdown last year.

"The fundamental problem lies in the fact that utilities, including TEPCO and the government, have failed to see the danger as reality," it said, adding that "they were bound by a myth of nuclear safety and the notion that severe accidents do not happen at nuclear plants in our country."

The 450-page report is the fourth inquiry into the worst nuclear accident in a generation, which happened after the huge tsunami of March 2011 crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station.

Reactors went into meltdown, sending clouds of radiation over a wide area, forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes, some possibly for the rest of their lives.

A damning parliamentary study that said the disaster was "man-made" was released earlier this month, following a private report by a group of journalists and scholars.

Tokyo Electric Power, or TEPCO, the operator of the crippled plant, largely cleared itself of blame, saying the size of the earthquake and tsunami was beyond all expectations and could not have reasonably been foreseen.

The latest report said however that TEPCO and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) were ill-prepared to cope with a tsunami or severe accidents, and that the government bungled the evacuation.

"Preparedness for a large-scale complex disaster was insufficient; and they were unprepared for the release of a large amount of radioactive materials into the environment," it added.

The report also took a swipe at former Japanese premier Naoto Kan and his government, saying there was a swirl of bureaucratic confusion in the days following the natural disasters and reactor meltdowns.

Kan's bid to wrestle the crisis from incompetent nuclear officials did not help, it added.

"More harm was done (than good) as his involvement... could have confused the scene, potentially missing opportunities to make important judgments and creating opportunities for misjudgments," the report said.

TEPCO did not train employees "to think independently and to act, and lacked flexible and proactive thinking required for crisis response", the report added.

The latest report backed the government and TEPCO's findings that the plant's cooling systems were knocked out by giant waves that slammed into the plant.

Many scientists and activists have disputed this finding, suggesting it was the initial earthquake that damaged the reactors.

A parliamentary report released earlier this month charged that ingrained collusion between TEPCO, the government and regulators -- combined with a lack of any effective oversight -- led directly to crisis.

"They effectively betrayed the nation's right to be safe from nuclear accidents. Therefore, we conclude that the accident was clearly 'man-made'," said the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission's report released on July 5.

The independent group of scholars and journalists, who reported their findings in February, said TEPCO could and should have done more.

It also said that had the company had its way, its staff would have been evacuated from the crippled plant and the catastrophe could have spiralled even further out of control.

Japan has seen a wave of anti-nuclear sentiment with weekly protests in the tens of thousands gathering in front of the prime minister's official residence, which have grown since the approved restart of two reactors.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Osmeña wants electricity exempted from VAT
    Osmeña wants electricity exempted from VAT

    Sen. Sergio Osmeña III wants electricity to be exempted from value added tax under a proposed measure that will amend the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 and the Reformed VAT Law. He said the move aims to ease the burden of the public in paying high electricity rates in the country. “VAT on electricity is another burden on the already over-taxed shoulders of our people, especially those whose incomes are barely enough to cover their basic needs. Osmeña, chairman of the Senate …

  • No lotto draws starting tomorrow until Easter Sunday
    No lotto draws starting tomorrow until Easter Sunday

    No lotto tickets will be sold and no lotto draws made starting tomorrow, Maundy Thursday, up to Easter Sunday in observance of Holy Week. In a statement, Jose Ferdinand Rojas II, acting Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) chairman and general manager, said the selling of lotto tickets and lotto draws will resume on April 6,  Monday. “We thank all Lotto players for your trust and confidence in the PCSO games, and we count on your continued support of our efforts to raise funds for …

  • Quake rocks C. Visayas
    Quake rocks C. Visayas

    A magnitude-3.2 earthquake rocked parts of Central Visayas yesterday. State seismologists said the quake was an aftershock of a powerful tremor that hit the region in 2013. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the quake occurred at 7:54 a.m. Its epicenter was located 10 kilometers  southeast of Buenavista, Bohol. Phivolcs director Renato Solidum said the quake was an aftershock of the magnitude-7.2 earthquake that hit Bohol on Oct. 15, 2013. …

  • Super howler nears Phl
    Super howler nears Phl

    A typhoon that has devastated islands in the Pacific is forecast to become a category 5 monster howler as it barrels toward the Philippines this week. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said Maysak will be named Chedeng when it enters the Philippine area of responsibility tonight or tomorrow morning. In an interview, PAGASA weather forecaster Gener Quitlong said the forecast track of Maysak may still change depending on the movement of …

  • Philips Gold finally shines

    Philips Gold made 11 service aces on its way to beating Mane ‘N Tail, 25-19, 27-25, 25-16, for its first victory in the Philippine Super Liga (PSL) All-Filipino Coinference Monday night at The Arena in San Juan.Former College of St. Benilde standout Rossan Fajardo had six aces as part of her 10-point output as the Lady Slammers finally barged into the win column after losing their first two matches.Ex-National University star Myla Pablo led Philips Gold with 14 points highlighted by 12 kills, …

  • Turkish Airlines starts direct Manila-Istanbul flights 3 times a week

    Turkish Airlines, Turkey’s flag carrier, launched on March 30 its thrice weekly direct, non-stop flights between Istanbul and Manila at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 and plans to operate a daily service between the two cities, eventually, announced Chief Marketing Officer Ahmet Olmustur. Last November 2014, the Philippines and Turkey signed an expanded air services agreement granting Turkish carriers three frequencies per week to Manila and Clark. In accordance with …

  • Azkals bow to Bahrain

    The Philippine Azkals fell short in their bid to salvage a draw and fell 2-1 to Bahrain Monday night in an international friendly match at the Bahrain National Stadium in Manama. Faouzi Mubarak struck the opening goal for the home side in the 29th minute before Abdulla Yaser doubled the lead two minutes later with a booming shot from 25 yards out. Fil-German midfielder Manny Ott gave the Azkals a ray of hope when he scored from just outside the box in the 61st. National team Coach Thomas …

  • Alcalas dominate rivals

    In a brilliant show of power and speed, Mark Alcala downed fierce rival and Philippine team member Ross Leonard Pedroza, 21-16, 23-21, to win the men’s singles open title. Alcala lost her No. 1 ranking after focusing on her studies at the University of the Philippines, but she’s willing to sacrifice once again in order to represent the country in future international tournaments. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options