Asahi: Tepco didn’t have enough cash to buy essential supplies as Fukushima reactors melted down

Published: September 5th, 2012 at 10:48 am ET


(Subscription Only) Title: TEPCO videos: Sans equipment, staff, Fukushima crisis spun out of control
Source: Asahi
Author:  Compiled from reports by Toshihiro Okuyama, Takashi Sugimoto and Hideaki Kimura
Date: Sept 5, 2012

TEPCO videos: Sans equipment, staff, Fukushima crisis spun out of control


according to an analysis of staff teleconference videos by The Asahi Shimbun


Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. was late in obtaining additional fire engines, crews and fuel, and at one point ran short of essential supplies because it apparently lacked the ready cash with which to buy them, according to the videos released by the company, which show conversations between plant staff and managers in Tokyo as the reactors overheated.


No Fuel

At 10:15 a.m. on March 13, it was reported that 800 liters of gasoline were on their way


TEPCO could not secure trucks and drivers to transport the fuel any farther because of fears over radiation.

The fuel reached Onahama, and there it stayed.

Confusion continued on March 14, when at 8:50 p.m., it was reported that the plant had still received no gasoline.

No Water, No Gov’t Forces

Still the other main transport problem persisted: getting water to the overheated reactors.

TEPCO turned to Japan’s Self-Defense Forces.

But on March 13, the SDF stayed out of the plant. “SDF members headed to the plant with water yesterday (March 12) at our request, but they returned after seeing the explosion,” explained a TEPCO official at 9:15 a.m., referring to a hydrogen explosion at the No. 1 reactor building. “They received high radiation doses after being exposed to radioactivity and contamination.”


By March 14, the situation at the No. 1 plant had not improved.

TEPCO received a report that seven SDF tankers, carrying 35 tons of water in all, arrived at the plant at 10:57 a.m.

Four minutes later, a hydrogen explosion ripped apart the No. 3 reactor building. Four SDF members were injured.

Published: September 5th, 2012 at 10:48 am ET


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38 comments to Asahi: Tepco didn’t have enough cash to buy essential supplies as Fukushima reactors melted down

  • patb2009

    you would think they would commandeer gas stations and pay with chits, later.

    Jeez, what kind o pinheads were these?

    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      'Sociopathic psychotics' comes to mind.

    • RichardPerry

      Are these plants loosing so much money that they cannot get credit or accountants have no credit cards. Any company I have worked for issued cards with several thousand dollar limits for salesmen and engineers.

  • Weasels! Idiots, no one in charge

    • richard richard

      We knew that from day one. They are the keystone cops, complete bumbling buffoons.

      With no money? I know that if I, as a business, was asked to provide tepgov with credit I'd laugh in their face.

      The debt they will owe will likely equal the Earth.

      It'll cost the Earth before all this is done.

  • or-well

    "Here's the company plastic, better process it fast!"

    "I'm sorry, the system is down, I can only take cash."

    "But fuels heading for ground, the reactors are smashed!"

    "I can only take cash – that's the situation. Maybe you should have made preparations."

    "We'll make reparations! This is an emergency situation! You must supply us or there'll be repercussions!"

    "I'm sorry but I'm following Regulations. No cash – no stuff. End of discussion."

    "Too late! Feel that percussion? That was our nuclear plants' explosion!"

    • Michele

      If anyone survives on this earth, you would be a great writer for the "made for TV movie". All we need is a title, too bad that the Marx Brothers or Larry, Moe and Curley are no longer with us.

      Have you ever seen the series, "Planet of the Apes"? There is an ending to the series in which the astronaut finds the survivors in worship. They are gathered around a nuclear missile, worshipping its "truth" and we discover that their faces are actually covered by masks. To worship the truth of their nuclear god, they remove their masks to show the horrific true faces. Let us hope and pray that this stays a fantasy for the sake of our children.

  • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

    TEPCO was in complete chaos in the days following 311.
    Apparently, the situation has not improved.

  • Michele

    Even if a plan was in place for such a crisis, TEPCO was dependent upon the government and its suppliers. The Japanese businessmen never heard of the IOU system so that the supplies would be there in time. Apparently, there was no clear management of the situation and it continued until the #3 explosion. The US had planned to drop chemicals or water by helicopter and it appears that they were asleep as to the dangerous escalating situation, or most probably, waiting for the Japanese to give them the go ahead. So that by 03/14 it was beyond any control. The most important ongoing plan was not to take any responsibility by keeping the public ignorant, to make them a modern sacrifice to the nuclear god, and as at least one leader has said, to not have a confrontation with the Japanese people.

    This approach by officials and industry has been used throughout mankind's history. The US is currently involved in a similar situation with an underground storage used by the petroleum industry in which "non-natural radioactive" materials have been stored. The government knew about the problem for at least a year and continued to placate the residents by telling them that there were no environmental concerns for their well being. Now there is great concern and, as of now, no means to resolve this crisis. The trouble with buried secrets is that eventually they can no longer stay buried.

    • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

      Michele: "…to make them a modern sacrifice to the nuclear god". 🙂
      I know the thought is really unimaginably sad, but your words brought your thoughts to life, and said it so beautifully. Many thanks, Michele, for your contribution.

      The Japanese government is now having a confrontation with their people. The Japanese people are now divided into two groups: One group doesn't want to continue with nuclear power. The other group wants to stop using nuclear power right now. Unfortunately, both groups are under a death sentence. Not a million, Arnie, but tens of millions. And not in 20 or more years, but soon. Watch the newborn and the children. Watch heart attack deaths. Japan is toast.

      Someday, those American officials who have blocked Fuku information from reaching the people, information that would have affected their life decisions, will face a confrontation of their own with an angry and poisoned people. Someday, American officials who have made deals with Japan not to test food imports for radiation, will face a comfrontation of their own with an angry and poisoned people.

  • Centaur Centaur

    On the tombstone for the human race, there'll may be written:

    "They simply thought,
    they couldn't AFFORD
    their own survival…

    What a pity, they were
    such a promising race."

    Regards. -.-

    • PhilipUpNorth philipupnorth

      An alien may someday visit a lifeless Earth, and discover evidence of a long extinct sentient race. But, on their tour of the Milky Way Galaxy, the discovery of extinct sentient races who knew just enough science to bring about their own destruction is the rule, not the exception. The bored officer will make a note in the log that Earthlings, with their abundant waves, tides, rivers, winds, and sunshine, chose instead to split atoms to power their civilization. Now they, too, are gone.

  • But hey had enough cash to pay exorbitant bonuses to executives.

    Anyway,the roaches of Tepco received “bonus” this summer.

    They will be paid another bonus for this winter too.

    The average sum of bonus was 400,000 yen this summer.

    Executives are still paid 3million yen monthly.

    Amount of compensation is only 1million yen for one family.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Blaming "a few men running a power station" is a diversion from the real problem.

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    “They received high radiation doses after being exposed to radioactivity and contamination.” First time we've heard this bit, I think (about Japanese military responders). Where are these people now? What happened to them after they received high radiation doses?

    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      They're being treated at Unit 731, Fukushima branch office:

    • Radio VicFromOregon

      aigeezer, that information was released early on since it was evident the responders were near the explosion. For too many reasons to list right now – denial, cover up, confusion, bigger stories, etc – i think they got forgotten by most but their immediate families. Last article i read about 9 months or so ago, they were waiting to see if they develop symptoms.

      • aigeezer aigeezer

        Thanks, Vic. I had not noticed any stories about them. Please post if you find anything current also.

        TIS – that's a chilling item (the real 731). I had never heard of it before.

        Ugly stuff, then and now.

  • falsetruth777

    Not enough cash, you have to be kidding me, has the greed gone that far to the extent that they didnt have enough funds on hand for basic emergency necessities. Where the hell has all the money gone that they made in the past several decades…

    • Radio VicFromOregon

      Cash on hand, alone, works when the banks are down. Given that this was a large regional disaster, literally nothing was functioning anywhere except for basic search and rescue and the clearing of main highways of stories of Tsunami debris.

  • rambojim

    Today's headlines on

    Japan to buy disputed Senkaku Islands from landowners for US $24 million….

  • dosdos dosdos

    They could certainly afford billions of yens of dividends and billions in payoffs annually.

  • Sickputer

    Money probably poorly spent for political posturing. No land to speak of for relocation of an irradiated nation. 1,700 acres uninhabited. Not even enough for a nuclear dump which even if it was 1,700 square miles the two Chinas would never allow it.

    The island purchase had two goals on mind for Japan and both related to the nuclear industry collapse and the irradiated eastern coast fishing areas now ruined in Japan.

    The tiny islands southwest of Okinawa (actually closer to Taiwan which makes them unhappy over today's news) are valuable because of rich fishing grounds ((Japan's first goal) and the disputed islands may lie next to underwater oil and gas reserves.

    So yes, the two Chinas are pissed at Japan, but they will get over it because there will be much future need for trade with America and Japan. The islands are a small issue in the bigger scale issues.

  • chrisk9

    Not a single utility company on earth pays for anything with cash. What kind of small business would rely on cash? And if they are the exception then they are coco for cocopuffs.

  • Radio VicFromOregon

    Well, in all fairness, we have to remember that the entire region had been devastated and communications were down everywhere. IOU's don't work during disasters. It's cash or nothing in Japan and everywhere else cuz the banking system is down. It'd be nice to see a little more empathy for those who remained to deal with this crisis and start separating out TEPCO executive decisions from the employees, SDF, fire fighters, locals, etc. That takes more work on our parts, but, hey, they're worth it, aren't they?

  • richard richard

    you're on the money there Vic, it would seem.