Japan's TEPCO admits downplaying tsunami risk

Oct 12, 2012
The No. 3, front, and the No. 2 reactor buildings seen from the No. 4 reactor building at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant in May this year. The operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on Friday admitted it had played down the risks of a tsunami to the facility for fear of the financial and regulatory costs.

The operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on Friday admitted it had played down the risks of a tsunami to the facility for fear of the financial and regulatory costs.

The admission is one of the starkest yet by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which has been criticised for trying to shirk responsibility for the worst in a generation.

The report says before the of March 2011 smashed into the plant the company was aware defences against were not sufficient, but did not act because of the possible consequences.

"There was a latent fear that plant shutdown would be required until severe accident measures were put in place," Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said in a report.

The company document, entitled "Fundamental Policy for the Reform of TEPCO Nuclear Power Organization" says insufficient planning was done to prepare for a natural disaster at the plant.

"There was concern that if new severe accident measures were implemented, it could spread concern in the siting community that there is a problem with the safety of current plants."

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cdt
5 / 5 (1) Oct 12, 2012
And herein lies the biggest problem with all current nuclear power generation -- human stupidity, short-sightedness, and greed. If we could trust operators to do what engineers know and say needs to be done, and if we could trust them to put safety in general ahead of profit and embarrassment, then it MIGHT be possible to build a nuclear power plant that is safe enough that we wouldn't need to worry about disasters of this sort. Unfortunately, we don't live in the best of all possible worlds.
Squirrel
not rated yet Oct 12, 2012
So far the top management of TEPCO has got rewarded not punished for what in other countries would be serious criminal issues. Masataka Shimizu, the chief executive at the time of disaster, for example, resigned and now is an outside director of the Fuji Oil Company-- a nice little retirement present.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Oct 12, 2012
So far the top management of TEPCO has got rewarded not punished

Usually TEPCO execs hav ended up in high political office. So by that standard it is indeed a 'punishment'.

Bailouts, golden parachutes, high bonuses for spectacular failure, new posts with increased salaries in subsidiaries... it's the norm in big business (and politics) - not the exception.

And there's nothing we can do about it because of the golden rule...

then it MIGHT be possible to build a nuclear power plant that is safe enough that we wouldn't need to worry about disasters of this sort.

I think that is wishful thinking. People will always cut some corners. Observe yourself driving home/to work. Do you obey the EXACT specifications of the rules of the road? Do you even know all of them to the letter? Now imagine that to another order of magnitude for nuclear power plant operations. Even if people wanted to - it's just not reasonable to expect it will happen 24/365.