Japan probe finds nuclear
disaster response failed
Fukushima Power Plant
EMF Computer Protection
Magnetic Field Detector
YURI KAGEYAMA, Associated Press
December 26, 2011
TOKYO (AP) — Japan's response to the nuclear crisis
that followed the March 11 tsunami was confused and riddled
with problems, including an erroneous assumption an
emergency cooling system was working and a delay in
disclosing dangerous radiation leaks, a report
The disturbing picture of harried and bumbling workers and
government officials scrambling to respond to the problems
at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant was depicted in
the report detailing a government investigation.
The 507-page interim report, compiled by interviewing more
than 400 people, including utility workers and government
officials, found authorities had grossly underestimated
tsunami risks, assuming the highest wave would be 6 meters
(20 feet). The tsunami hit at more than double those levels.
The report criticized the use of the term "soteigai,"
meaning "outside our imagination," which it said implied
authorities were shirking responsibility for what had
happened. It said by labeling the events as beyond what
could have been expected, officials had invited
"This accident has taught us an important lesson on how we
must be ready for soteigai," it said.
The report, set to be finished by mid-2012, found workers at Tokyo
Electric Power Co., the utility that ran
Fukushima Dai-ichi, were untrained to handle emergencies
like the power shutdown that struck when the tsunami
destroyed backup generators — setting off the world's worst
nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
There was no clear manual to follow, and the workers failed
to communicate, not only with the government but also among
themselves, it said.
Finding alternative ways to bring sorely needed water to the
reactors was delayed for hours because of the mishandling of
an emergency cooling system, the report said. Workers
assumed the system was working, despite several warning
signs it had failed and was sending the nuclear core
The report acknowledged that even if the system had kicked
in properly, the tsunami damage may have been so great that
meltdowns would have happened anyway.
But a better response might have reduced the core damage,
radiation leaks and the hydrogen explosions that followed at
two reactors and sent plumes of radiation into the air,
according to the report.
Sadder still was how the government dallied in relaying
information to the public, such as using evasive language to
avoid admitting serious meltdowns at the reactors, the
The government also delayed disclosure of radiation data in
the area, unnecessarily exposing entire towns to radiation
when they could have evacuated, the report found.
The government recommended changes so utilities will respond
properly to serious accidents.
It recommended separating the nuclear regulators from the
unit that promotes atomic energy, echoing frequent criticism
since the disaster.
Japan's nuclear regulators were in the same ministry that
promotes the industry, but they are being moved to the
environment ministry next year to ensure more independence.
The report did not advocate a move away from nuclear power
but recommended adding more knowledgeable experts, including
those who would have been able to assess tsunami risks, and
laying out an adequate response plan to what it called "a
The report acknowledged people were still living in fear of
radiation spewed into the air and water, as well as
radiation in the food they eat. Thousands have been forced
to evacuate and have suffered monetary damage from radiation
contamination, it said.
"The nuclear disaster is far from over," the report said.
The earthquake and tsunami left 20,000 people dead