Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fukushima: A Narrative of Lies and Inadequate Safety Protections

written by me:

The nuclear disaster began on March 11 after Fukushima Reactor No. lost water. Fukushima No. 1 reactor exploded Saturday March 12 after venting of the reactor failed to release pressure. On Monday March 14th an explosion occurred at No. 3 reactor. After the second explosion reported on June 15, “officials” at the Fukushima plant reported “there was no serious radiation leak, but acknowledged they had moved workers for safety reasons as a precaution” (Hayashi, 2011, p. A1).

Furthermore, it was reported that the “containment structures of the three reactors—which house the all-important reactor vessels—remain intact, Japanese official stressed, preventing large-scale radiation leaks” (Hayashi, 2011, p. A). Later, on March 15, an explosion occurred in reactor #2. As of March 29, officials reportedly suspected only a “partial meltdown” had occurred in reactor #2 (Morse & Obe, 2011, A12).

During the midst of these disasters, Japanese authorities insisted that there was little to no danger. On March 12, University of Tokyo Professor Naoto Sekimura appeared repeatedly on Japanese television to reassure local residents that all was under control. David McNeill of CNN reports Sekimura’s comments: “‘Only a small part of the fuel may have melted and leaked outside,’ he said. Residents near the power station should ‘stay calm,’ because ‘most of the fuel remains inside the reactor, which has stopped operating and is being cooled’” (cited in McNeill, 2011

In April, A former nuclear regulator who had served as a consultant to TEPCO in April claimed there was no danger of a total meltdown (Ex-Regulator resigns

In addition to withholding information about the state of the reactors, TEPCO and the Japanese Government suppressed information about the scale of radiation released. It took Japanese officials over a month to disclose large scale radiation releases that occurred at the Fukushima plant in mid-March (Tabuchi, Bradsher, Pollack, 2011).

Japan used a system called Speedi—System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose information—to model March releases and blamed the delay in reporting results to the public in mid-April to their efforts to narrow the margin of error in their calculations, although nuclear regulators in other countries were privy to Speedi’s results early on (Tabuchi, Bradsher, Pollack, 2011).

In July the Atomic Energy Society of Japan publicly criticized the Japanese government and TEPCO for delays an insufficient reporting of Speedi data to the public (“Nuclear Accident,” 2011):

"The society notes that there is the possibility that the damage to people's health from radiation exposure has increased because the government, Tepco and other related institutions did not properly disclose information on the status of the nuclear accidents and the environmental contamination by radioactive substances. It says that although they had information that must be disclosed, they have not done so. An example that surfaced recently is the education and science ministry's failure to immediately disclose the name of a radiation hot spot in Namie, Fukushima Prefecture."

In June, Japan’s nuclear safety agency acknowledged suspicion that the official statement of the radiation releases for March of 370,000 terabecquerels (publicized in April) had been grossly under-estimated ( McCurry “Japan Doubles” 2011 ).

Japan's nuclear safety agency doubled the amount of radiation previously reported by TEPCO to have “leaked” from the Fukushima Daiichi plan in the first week of the accident (McCurry, “Japan Doubles” 2011). This new figure of 770,000 terabequerels reported by the Japanese Nuclear Safety Agency failed to calculated radiation losses after the first week into the air or sea....

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