Early Days Of Confusion And Mistakes At Fukushima Nuclear Plant Being Revealed

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Early Days of Confusion and Mistakes at the Plant Being Revealed (EX-SKF, August 16, 2011):

The Kan Administration set up a fact-finding commission in late May to figure out what went wrong at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant that led to the catastrophic accident, even if the accident is still ongoing as of August.

There were many critics who said “First thing first”, which was to stop the emission of radioactive materials from the broken reactors and do whatever possible to reduce the amount of the contaminated water, and .. (list is endless). But the government, who is always eager to paint a positive picture that everything is according to schedule and going well, wanted the commission to “investigate” the accident to learn from the mistakes.

What better way to give the impression that the accident is over, than to form a commission to investigate the accident?

Still, the commission led by a Tokyo University professor (emeritus) and including 3 attorneys (one of them a UN committee member fighting for equal rights for women) and one novelist, has been interviewing (or “interrogating” is the word used in the Japanese press) TEPCO managers at Fukushima I Nuke Plant, and part of their findings have apparently been leaked to Mainichi Shinbun. The commission meetings are not open to the public.

From Mainichi Shinbun (2:31AM JST 8/17/2011), what TEPCO managers at the plant is saying:

About the explosion of Reactor 1 building at 3:36PM on March 12:

関係者によると、事故調に対し、東電側は原子炉や格納容器の状態に気を取られ、水素が原子炉建屋内に充満して爆発する危険性を考えなかったという趣旨の発言をし、「爆発前に予測できた人はいなかった」などと説明しているという。

TEPCO was preoccupied with the condition of the reactor and the Containment Vessel, and didn’t think of the risk of hydrogen explosion. “There was no one who could have predicted the explosion.”

また、ベントについては、マニュアルがなかったため設計図などを参考にして作業手順などを検討。全電源が喪失していたため作業に必要なバッテ リーなどの機材を調達し始めたが、型式などの連絡が不十分だったこともあり、多種多様な機材が運び込まれて、必要なものを選別する手間が生じた。

There was no manual for the vent operation. They figured out the procedure by studying the blueprint [of the reactor and Containment Vessel]. After station blackout, they started to collect equipment for the vent, but since there was no detailed information as to what type of equipment was necessary, a wide variety of equipment was brought in, and they wasted time choosing the right equipment.

さらに作業に追われる中、機材が約10キロ南の福島第2原発や作業員らが宿泊する約20キロ南のJヴィレッジに誤って配送され、取りに行かざるをえない状況になった。ある社員は「東電本店のサポートが不十分だった」と話しているという。

Then, as they prepared for the vent, some of the equipment was delivered by mistake to Fukushima II Nuclear Power plant (10 kilometers south of Fukushima I) or to J-Village (20 kilometers south of Fukushima I), and someone had to go there to get the equipment. One TEPCO employee at the plant said “There was not enough support from the TEPCO headquarters.”

一方、1号機の炉心を冷却するための非常用復水器(IC)が一時運転を中断していたものの、吉田所長ら幹部がそのことを把握せず、ICが稼働し ているという前提で対策が検討されていたことも判明。事故調の聴取に吉田所長は「重要な情報を把握できず大きな失敗だった」などと話しているという。

General Manager of the Plant Yoshida and his men planned the accident countermeasures, but they weren’t aware that the isolation condenser (IC) that cooled the fuel core of Reactor 1 had stopped temporarily. Yoshida said to the Commission, “It was a huge mistake not to have had this vital information.”

Prime Minister Kan’s visit March 12:

「目的が全く分からない」

“We have no idea why he came.”

菅首相からの「なぜこんなことになるのか」との質問には、「自由な発言が許され、十分な説明をできる状況ではなかった」

As to Prime Minister Kan’s question of “What’s going on?”, “it was not the atmosphere where we could speak frankly and give detailed explanation.”

About Self Defense Force helicopter dumping water on the Spent Fuel Pool:

「ありがたかったが、作業効率が極めて低いと感じた。プールに入っていないと思われるケースが多かった」

“We were grateful, but we felt it was not efficient. Most of the water didn’t seem to go into the SFP.”

Well, the dumping of water from the SDF helicopter was just for the visual effect to impress Americans, as it would look as if the government was actually doing something. That, along with having its soldiers irradiated and injured when the Reactor 3 building blew up, is said to have alienated the SDF from the administration.

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