Saturday, June 7, 2014

Transparency Needed Now



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

4 comments:

  1. So at the same time we were saying things were completely out of control, they were internally discussing that things were hopelessly out of control.

    However they were saying publicly that things were under control.

    In my opinion, that is the crime of Fukushima. No one wanted the reactors to melt down. No one designed the reactors to melt down. No one caused the reactors to melt down. It was a terrible natural disaster.

    However someone did decide to hide the fact that they melted down and were and still are dumping radiation into the environment. Someone did decide not to publish the truth, so a public debate about the future of nuclear power could take place. Someone did allow thousands of people to be needlessly exposed by not telling them completely of the danger.

    So there are the liars and the truthers about Fukushima. We've known that for a long time.

    I haven't decided if it's better personally to know the truth or be ignorant, but I have not changed my mind about whether I will tell the truth or tell lies...
    James

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  2. I am seeing two ways forward. The first entails the slow release of the cat from the bag. Perhaps in another 3 to 5 years almost all information; and then in another 5 the Powers forced to tell the world what the real status is as far as they know. In the meantime the likelihood of another disaster (Ukraine?). This way probably means the slow death of life on the planet.

    The second way forward would be for the world's experts to gather and make a concerted effort to bring Fukushima under control along with a recognition that nuclear power is too dangerous.

    In effect we have the way of death and the way of reform! I am not optimistic. In 1939 a concerted effort to have peace would have prevented WWII.

    Are the most powerful persons on the planet simply demented? stupid? deluded? I really don't know. The very very wealthy could in principle stop this madness; but so far not a hand has been lifted.

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  3. There will be no transparency as long as a truly independent team of experts is not put in charge of Fukushima, and publicly releases its assessments of the physical situation, and all radiation data involved. There will be no transparency until all air, water, food, and soil is measured for all possible radionuclides, and the results publicly disseminated. There will be no transparency until the Japanese, American, and Candadian governments release all the information they have about Fukushima radiation. There will be no transparency until independent academic research about Fukushima and its health consequences is funded, and the funding for hormesis research is cut off.

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  4. Mankind is warlike. Each new advance in technology, such as stirrups, the longbow, cannons, etc. has tilted the balance on the battlefield. The Alpha male (and Alpha females) WILL use that advantage willingly. This is anthropology. Man lacks the wisdom to apply technology humanely. Western Civilization perfected torture devices, for example. Therefore, expect nuclear technology to destroy the planet. Not bigger boys, just bigger toys. ...

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