TEPCO shareholders and former Kan-Administration officials are calling for public disclosure of interviews conducted two months after the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
Apparently the Japanese government established an “Investigation Committee on the Accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations” in May 2011. The committee interviewed 772 people to determine the cause of the disaster. The interviews were conducted with the condition that the contents not be publicly disclosed (Kimura & Horiuchi, 2014). Masao Yoshida was among those interviewed. Yoshida was plant manager at Daiichi during the disaster. In 2013 he died of esophageal cancer.
Discussion about the report is on the rise, stimulated perhaps by news releases from the June 1, 2014 Asahi Shimbun interview with Goshi Hosono, a special adviser to former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who was in office during the 3/11 disaster.
In his interview, Hosono described panic among Kan’s administrative officials present when TEPCO reported on the “out of control” Daiichi reactor. Hosono stated in his interview that “hopelessness reigned” among LDP members in office who were informed of the disaster (Kimura, 2014 June 2).
One stated reason for hopelessness concerned reactor unit 2. On the evening of March 14, 2014 it became clear that TEPCO had run out of options for injecting cooling water into the unit 2 reactor. Masao Yoshida, manager of the Fukushima, seemed discouraged, but then called back in better spirits reporting that he had managed to get water into unit 2 after all (Kimura & Horiuchi, 2014 June 1). Yoshida may have used sea-water as it was admitted that he ordered sea water injected to cool damaged fuel in reactor one.
Apparently Yoshida committed himself to remaining at the plant in order to try to stabilize the reactors. Hosono stated that the Kan administration wanted other workers evacuated, with the understanding that Yoshida would stay (Kimura & Horiuchi, 2014 June 1). Hosono explained that the Kan administration officials were uncertain how much support Yoshida would get from TEPCO.
The Asahi Shimbun subsequently reported June 3, 2014 that “Nuclear safety inspectors first to flee stricken Fukushima plant.” Perhaps they didn’t flee but rather were encouraged to leave. Its hard to get this issue fully sorted out.
The full report needs to be released. Hosono’s interview indicates that former officials are encouraging release of the transcripts. The Asahi Shimbun noted June 6 2014 that ten politicians interviewed by the panel all favor public release of their accounts, including former Prime Minister Naoto Kan.
This is Kan’s official statement:
“I will not oppose it as long as the records are not made available arbitrarily as a result of political intervention with regard to whose testimonies are subject to disclosure and which portions will be released,” Edano said in a statement. (quoted in (Myoraku & Ikejiri, 2014, June 6)I’m not sure whether this constitutes advocacy for full disclosure, but it is a move in the right direction.
Understanding of the full risks posed by the disaster will always be incomplete. That said, public release of these interviews would offer a tremendous risk-mitigation advantage. Public recognition of the scope of damage and the potential range of effects is critical for reducing human exposure.
Fukushima Daiichi, Hanford, and other highly contaminated nuclear sites will most certainly adversely impact our genome and/or the eco-systems upon which we depend. Impacts will be worse if we don’t fully acknowledge the risks radionuclides pose to living beings.
Impacts will be worse if we don't acknowledge that the contamination of the ocean and atmosphere are ongoing. For example, the plant is still spewing steam, as this screenshot of steam emerging from the common spent fuel pool building illustrates:
Transparency will help reduce the environmental and health impacts because people will rise up and demand testing and remediation, which will be costly for government. Thus we understand why reluctance exists over full disclosure.
The problem is that even with transparency the nuclear industry will likely be financially shielded because governments NEVER make the nuke industry pay for its externalities because that would put them right out of business.
Nuclear is MARKET DISTORTING, which is why nuclear has never been about economics, at least, not directly. Nuclear is the twentieth century phallus. It’s the big hammer in international relationships.
We are too like the nasty chimps for my comfort. Actually, we are worse because our rampage destroys the entire global eco-system.
Nuclear is about brute dominance. I hate it and am horrified by our modern day death cult. Full transparency is the first step toward truth, reconciliation, and long-term survival.
Here are sources for this very interesting news:
Kimura, Hideaki & Kyoko Horiuchi. (2014, June 1) Despite talk of pullout, Hosono says he backed Yoshida's resolve not to abandon Fukushima plant June 01, 2014 http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201406010019
Kimura, Hideaki (2014, June 2). Hopelessness reigned after TEPCO said Fukushima crisis 'out of control.' The Asahi Shimbun, http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201406020049
Kimura, Hideaki and Kyoko Horiuchi (2014, June 6). TEPCO shareholders to demand disclosure of nuke accident interviews. The Asahi Shimbun, http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201406050055
Myoraku, A., & Kazuo Ikejiri. (2014, June 6). For Kan and former Cabinet members, disclosure of Fukushima testimony a non-issue. The Asahi Shimbun, http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201406060042
Nuclear safety inspectors first to flee stricken Fukushima plant. (2014, June 3) http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201406030026
VOX POPULI: Remembering a hero of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. (2013, June 11) http://ajw.asahi.com/article/views/vox/AJ201307110028