Extracts from Jeff Kingston on Aspects of the ECCS coverup by Nuclear Industry

Taken from the paper Mismanaging Risk and the Fukushima Nuclear Crisis , Japan Focus, http://www.japanfocus.org/-Jeff-Kingston/3724

“In 1975, nuclear chemist Takagi Jinzaburō and others established the Citizens Nuclear Information Center (CNIC) and since then issued regular reports on nuclear power plant safety issues. This activism targeted the regulatory and technical problems with nuclear power and the vulnerabilities specific to seismically active Japan. Fukushima was the nightmare scenario that CNIC had long predicted. In a 1995 interview, Takagi spoke about the risks of a meltdown in the event of multiple failures. He raised the possibility of large radioactive releases from a meltdown resulting from a breakdown in the emergency core cooling system and the failure of back-up diesel generators, exactly what happened at Fukushima sixteen years later.13”

“The third party panel that investigated the nuclear crisis at the behest of the government issued an interim report at the end of 2011 that was harshly critical of TEPCO and the government, pointing out that the utility was ill-prepared for a crisis and that its’ workers made critical errors in shutting off automated emergency cooling systems and wrongly assumed part of the cooling system was working when it was not.29 The report of the RJIF non-government investigation cited above released at the end of February 2012 reached similar conclusions. These workers and their managers were inadequately trained to cope with an emergency situation and according to the panel lacked basic knowledge concerning the emergency reactor cooling system. Their mishandling of emergency procedures contributed to the crisis. Moreover, TEPCO and its regulators, as we discuss below, failed to act on fresh and compelling evidence about tsunami risk, a blind spot that left the plant needlessly vulnerable.”

“In August 2011 a Diet committee investigating the nuclear disaster requested that TEPCO provide it with an operations manual for the Fukushima Daiichi plant. TEPCO initially refused the request, prompting a public uproar. One month later, TEPCO provided a heavily redacted version of the manual and justified blacking out key passages related to emergency procedures, arguing that this information constituted intellectual property it wished to protect and also raised security concerns. These spurious grounds highlighted TEPCO efforts to prevent the Diet from exercising oversight and attempting to cover-up shortcomings in its crisis response. It took six months for TEPCO to release the entire manual. Committee members complained about this stonewalling and stated that, “It was important that we saw the manual to learn why the company had switched part of the emergency core-cooling system off and on again after the earthquake (and before the tsunami) — to find out when the emergency systems were destroyed.”33 Former premier Hatoyama Yukio concluded that it is imperative to nationalize TEPCO in order to promote transparency and learn the lessons of Fukushima precisely because the utility has tried to obfuscate rather than clarify what happened and why. But it is not only TEPCO that is attempting to cover its tracks.”

“The nuclear crisis at Fukushima was triggered by natural disaster, but human error played a critical role. A systemic failure in risk management, institutionalized complacency about tsunami risk and incompetence in operating emergency cooling systems were crucial factors in this catastrophe. TEPCO lacked a culture of safety that explains its lapses before, during and after 3/11. Fukushima was an accident waiting to happen and nuclear industry regulatory authorities are complicit because they failed to pressure TEPCO to heed numerous warning signs.”

The scenario is very similar to that of the 1970s, where concerns about safety surrounding the effectiveness of ECCS as the last line of defence against containment breach and meltdown were dismissed by the US AEC despite mounting evidence that ECCS “might not work as designed”. In Japan an arrogant false belief isolated the Japanese nuclear industry and ensured it remained cocooned in an early 60s militaristic corporate wonderland.

There has been clear explanation as to why the ECCS units in 3 reactors had all failed by day 3 post quake. This TEPCO “intellectual property” is actually US AEC “intellectual property” and is of immense importance to the people of the world. One reason for this importance is its value as a lever against the activities of the US NRC in maintaining its own safety myths in regard to ECCS failure in the USA and elsewhere.

Given the historic record which establishes the attempt by nuclear authorities in the USA to conceal their fears regarding containment failure from the public in the period from 1967, and the pessimistic results of semi scale ECCS test results at LOFT, Idaho, which nuclear authorities stated did not apply because they were not full scale, and given the nuclear authority and industry response to the scientific and public response to this debacle, the response by TEPCO to ECCS failure at Fukushima is seen as essentially a mirror of the attitudes instilled into Japanese nuclear industry by US regulators and industry. The reactors were approved for export to Japan in the era where the AEC was secretly considering its response to the fears it held regarding the possibility of a Fukushima like event. This, in the early 1960s resulted in the Ergen report.

Fukushima Diiachi qualifies as a full scale test US Nuclear Authorities lacked the funds to conduct at the time. The money had been spent, according to the NRC history, on fast breeder development.

That fast breeder debacles have cost Japan dearly, it is another reminder that the Japanese nuclear culture is the surviving child of the military industrial complex which put on a civilian face when the Manhattan Project became the AEC.

The Japanese mimic still lives in 1954. And is stuck there. It occupies Japan like a foreign force.

One Response to “Extracts from Jeff Kingston on Aspects of the ECCS coverup by Nuclear Industry”

  1. CaptD Says:

    The same Nuclear Denial* is active in the USA along with many other Countries like Britain, India and France) that are still pushing RISKY nuclear upon their people, even though the people are against it!

    * http://is.gd/XPjMd0

    The illogical belief that Nature cannot destroy any land based nuclear reactor, any place anytime 24/7/365!

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