Former Leader of Japan: Fukushima disaster is “most severe accident in the history of mankind” — Top Regulator: Drastic steps needed due to growing problems at precarious plant

Published: October 28th, 2013 at 9:53 pm ET
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Former Prime Minister of Japan Naoto Kan, Oct. 28, 2013: The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was the most severe accident in the history of mankind. [...] I had pushed the policy of utilizing nuclear power [...] my view is now changed 180 degrees. [...] there are no other events except for wars that would require the evacuation of tens of millions of people. [...] it is technically impossible to eliminate accidents, especially if human factors such as terrorism are taken into account [...] to eliminate nuclear power plant accidents. All we need to do is to eliminate nuclear power plants themselves. [...] we are leaving the huge problem of nuclear waste for future generations to care for. There is no other way but to go down in the path toward achieving zero nuclear power, for the sake of our children and grandchildren. It is possible for mankind to get enough energy without relying on nuclear power — by using natural energy such as solar, wind, and biomass. To help curb global warming, we need to stop the use of not only nuclear power but also fossil fuels. [...]

Associated Press, Oct. 28, 2013: In their first meeting [in 13 months] the top regulator urged the head of the utility that runs the crippled Fukushima power plant on Monday to take “drastic steps” to mitigate a spate of mishaps at the complex. Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shunichi Tanaka summoned Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Naomi Hirose to his office to express concerns about growing problems at the plant [...] The meeting was closed except for few minutes at the beginning. Masashi Goto, a nuclear reactor engineer and lecturer at Meiji University, was skeptical about how effective the meeting would be. “What matters is what they really talked about,” he said. “To me it seems the regulatory side was just trying to smooth things out and make it look like the situation should start improving.” [...] Hirose acknowledged that TEPCO has been cutting costs and that the precarious state of the plant has contributed to the deterioration of the plant’s operations.

See also: Former Prime Minister of Japan: I realized Fukushima disaster could have been 100 times worse than Chernobyl (VIDEO)

Published: October 28th, 2013 at 9:53 pm ET
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45 comments

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45 comments to Former Leader of Japan: Fukushima disaster is “most severe accident in the history of mankind” — Top Regulator: Drastic steps needed due to growing problems at precarious plant

  • Oncewaslost Oncewaslost

    Fascinating…. in that Kan did not admit to the meltdowns, he admits to here. Not until many many months later.

    Which begs the question, did we not experience a worse case scenario? As described by Kan, with spent fuel being released?

    Kan denies that, as he did the meltdowns.

    However can anyone, now 2.5 years later, show us SFP 3s fuel?

    OR even SFP 4s?

    They have built a structure right over SFP 4. IS there a clear indication of the status of the fuel? Clearly they are sitting right on top of it…. where are the images? Footage?

    What about the Huge SFP pool, the one actually designed to store spent fuel (the pools in the reactors were, by design, NOT for Spent Fuel, but rather to empty and fill the cores.) They were transfer pools not storage pools. Surely someone should hang for that alone.

    Regardless of the absolute disgusting incompetence of industry to use those pools for storing spent fuel, (which must be criminal malpractice) the only reason they would store spent fuel above live reactors is because the pool built for storing it was full.

    Power was done for at least 24 hours, which is sufficient time to impact that spent fuel pool.

    So what is the status of that pool? The only one on site actually designed to store spent fuel? It only takes 4 hours of no power for trouble to occur.

    Kan makes the right call, end this shit, but is he still shilling for them on the status of the spent fuel pools?


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    • Socrates

      Kan is maybe playing good cop to Abe's bad cop to admit melts but not spent fuel pools that burned up into the atmosphere.

      I usually am able to get the forensic part right but people are puzzling, especially when they keep changing the facts.

      I agree that fission is too fissile. So what else is new?


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    • Go Flying

      The spent fuel pools beside each reactor are indeed transfer pools to facilitate offloading of spent fuel and, in the case of R4, partially spent fuel whilst the reactor shroud was being repaired.

      However, spent fuel needs to cool for a number of years before it can be safely transferred out of the SFP's into the common fuel pond.


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    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      I personally applaud Kan as he insisted that the workers at Fukushima must not evacuate and they were about to split the scene, like a shot in the dark, until he said NO. Thus I give him a lot of credit for what could have been much worse, believe or not, if all the workers had just picked up and left resulting in total meltdowns for each spent fuel pool and reactor.


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      • Oncewaslost Oncewaslost

        Interesting observation it is unclear to me what exactly what have been different or how things would have been worse.

        I mean I did see the documentary that said the guy with the helicopter dumping water saved the planet and all that, but I am not sure if that is just a made for TV kind of a thing.

        I would be interested in seeing what people did that improved the situation, because I have heard others, like Gunderson , make this statement but have not seen evidence that suggests its true.

        That said this was and is a very difficult political situation for leaders and communicators…. which is why they need to fabricate much of the narrative to create and upside for them to elaborate on and work toward while manufacturing "wins."

        Teh current SFP 4 situation is afine example of that, or what is called threaten and rescue issues management. The threat is humans actually doing something like pulling the bundles out of that SFP. The rescue is not doing it, and instead burying or building a cask around it, so they create the threat " global catastrophe" and then rescue us all buy doing basically nothing but communicating. All of which obfuscates the issues of what actually is the status of the spent fuel in that pool. The single most important piece of info we still have not been provided.

        But I do applaud Kan for calling for an end to it all…. its way pasttime.


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  • Naha Johari

    Naoto Kan joins the TEPCO-bashing bandwagon following the rising anti-nuke sentiment of the populace. If Shinzo Abe is forced to resign by his party tomorrow, you can bet he will join in too. It's called political career relaunch. Once upon a time it would have been harakiri self-disembowelment. Every one of them has a manifesto promising the end of nuclear power, but political power corrupts and corrupts absolutely. Kickbacks ahoy and arm-twisting aplenty from Washington to Paris to Tokyo. Corporations rule.


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    • behappy1

      You maybe right, but from the interviews I seen from Kan
      the info he got on the plants condition for the first 72 hours
      from Tepco was more wishful thinking then fact.

      Not saying lies, maybe no one knew the truth at the time.

      I also think he would have at least ordered a shelter indoor order
      maybe even an evacuation for Tokyo, he said he thought about it.

      If he knew then
      what he knows now.

      Would he have done things different, if he had the time?

      I wouldnt want to be in his shoes.


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  • We Not They Finally

    We saw Naoto Kan (over the internet) give the introductory talk for the Fukushima Symposium in New York this past March. He struck us as a profoundly remorseful man.

    Is he going far enough? Maybe not. But then again, maybe he cannot bear to see his country destroyed. Likely there are factors of denial still in play.

    People should try to remember that it is GOOD that he is going as far as he is, and not call him "a shill." I doubt that he is that at all.


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    • Oncewaslost Oncewaslost

      First off I did not call him a shill but rather posed the question, is he continuing the trend he established at the time of the event, which was to cover up the worst of the information, obfuscate and delay.

      This precedent is set, and I only forward the notion that he may still be "shilling" as he has in the past. Or would you prefer that I call him a liar, which this piece of his own writing clearly proves he is.

      His government did not acknowledge melt downs until December, fully 9 months after the fact, in this piece he clearly states all three melted down within hours.

      Can we anticipate him writing another piece in 10 years, amidst the carnage of massive radiation poisoning finally admitting to the release of spent fuel? When such a point is near obvious when viewing the actual explosions of that day.


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    • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

      Sadly :( His country "is already" +"has been" destroyed. Likely there are factors of denial still in play.


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      • Oncewaslost Oncewaslost

        Hosting the Olympics may be a sign of that denial… they still have not told us in BC how much the winter Olympics cost, and passed legislation saying they don't have to, much like Japan is currently contemplating.

        Also one of their governors believes they should at least address "institutionalized lying" before firing up the worlds largest reactor.
        http://rt.com/news/tepco-address-lying-governor-879/


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        • richard richard

          @Oncewaslost – how do government (who are paid for by tax payers) get to withhold how much money they blow on the olympics?

          That's just more criminal action by public servants. Do you have a link to this story?

          These government need to start learning, hard and fast, that they work for us, the tax payers. To steal our money, and then not be subjected to account for that money, is clear and utter corruption.

          But in short, the IOC would seem to be very corrupt, agreeing to have the Tokyo games. It reeks of a conspiracy between the nuke industry and other commercial players. I look forward to it all blowing back in their faces in 2020.. the best I can hope for is the world will face the evil and corrupt reality of the nukers. And the IOC for that matter.

          I'd be willing to bet the 'penny to a pound' that the Tokyo Games will not happen. Then watch the nukers run for cover.


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          • Oncewaslost Oncewaslost

            There is a lot of data on the BC olympics non disclosure, the trend started in China, or at least public disclosure of non disclosure started with the China Olympics.

            In BC there were estimations and reporting, however no total costs were ever reported after all was said and done and there is no requirement to do so.


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            • richard richard

              thanks Once. I thought BC was under a democracy, not under communist rule. I find it curious that the public accepts such unaccountable flaunting of their money. (I'm being polite with the word 'curious').

              Of course there is a 'requirement' … it's the peoples' money. How corrupt is that to say 'no requirement'. The stench is growing more foul every day.


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              • Oncewaslost Oncewaslost

                We are obviously slightly off topic, but many are under a false impression that BC is something it is not actually all of Canada for that matter, however I would not describe it is communist. Rather it leans more towards a sort of parliamentary authoritarianism with fascist tendency.


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              • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

                It appears none of the money anywhere under government control is the people's money and that appears simply to be an illusion/myth created by our masters for all the peasants to believe in.


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          • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

            There is an interesting point here. If the people could decide, during a term of election, how the money was spent, the politicians would be far less apt to abscond with our hard earned money. This could be fundamental to a new political system. Never give a bunch of criminals a bunch of money carte blanch


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          • babbo dorian babbo dorian

            Because the profiteers of Olympics, are the sale owners of GE.
            The very biggest war lords of the world and media owners.
            The same bastarda that breves and buy polititian.


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  • zardoz2012 zardoz2012

    Finally an honest politician who is not afraid to tell the truth about the worst accident in history that happened on our watch.


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    • Oncewaslost Oncewaslost

      Good point, on that one sentence, there is truth. Most people of his stature are still parsing their words and trying to suggest that this incident was on par with chernobyl…. which had one reactor with no spent fuel above it.

      Others peddled cold shutdown for how long? Actually so did this guy come to think of it.


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  • Time Is Short Time Is Short

    OT: A gold mine of solid radiation/health studies:

    http://www.ncf-net.org/radiation.htm

    Get them while the site is still up. Listing on Enenews sometimes makes the better .gov information go away.

    I know this is off-topic, but these articles are too important to miss.

    Although, now that the 'cat's out of the bag', how is Abe going to cover this up? It's like Bush admitting 9/11 was a coverup, and it was the government all along.

    This is going to be a fun week in Japan.


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    N O T . A C C I D E N T

    No such thing as nuclear "accident".

    Developing and allowing nuclear technology insures disaster.

    The disasters will continue until nuclear technology is abolished.


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  • byron byron

    Impression-Japan gov/TEPCO is waiting for big tsunami/earthquake to Save Face by saying, "we tried hard but nature finally won. Be sure to Smile.".. Ha, ha. Watch and see if I'm correct. How many Typhoons have dumped water onsite in the last couple of months?


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  • Wyakin Wyakin

    Like all others here I am a skeptic at times, but I also try balance that skepticism with pragmatism.

    Whatever consequences the FU disaster, any leaders willing to come out and make the case against NP, as Kan succinctly did in his 25+ minute address to the NY Academy of Medicine in March 2013, should be applauded loudly.

    Agreed that NP should be abolished. We should be embracing every opportunity to reaffirm the message that NP is uneconomic, trash producing, and has no proven waste storage method that will last 100 years, much less the 250,000+ year known requirement.

    Anne’s last comment (TY) on the 10/27/13 Yale professor post:
    15 point plan submitted by Arnie and other scientists to the Secretary General of the UN:
    Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds.org and an international team of scientists created a 15-point plan to address the crises at Fukushima.
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/10/25/the-global-threat-of-fukushima/
    The Honorable Ban Khe i moon, Secretary General
    The United Nations
    http://www.nirs.org/fukushima/expert-ltr-bankimoon-09-2013.pdf

    A fool’s errand?

    No. We know the UN is complicit in the proliferation of NP, but like Kan’s comments, perhaps a foundation to move forward is being forged and the dialog adds vocabulary not in the NP dictionary to the expanding global conversation.


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    • Oncewaslost Oncewaslost

      While it is important to get the message out and even point to the words of people like Kan in this regard, its also important to "trust" but verify.

      Or to put a sharper point on it. Beware of false prophets.

      Many have celebrated the end of 54 reactors operating in Japan, however, banks have leveraged future dollars based on their desire to have them back operating. The largest reactor in teh world, is in Japan slated for start up in April.

      50 year plans, look good on paper and sound good in sound clips, but we are clearly noncommittal and we allowed to much power and privilege to amass to these energy companies, who will simply ruthlessly pursue their agenda under cover of the rhetoric.

      There is a large industry in place that lives of providing the rhetorical cover for their agenda, and while we feel helpless in the face of it, we are better off militantly forwarding teh change we want to see then meekly adopting the false narrative they force upon us.


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  • Sickputer

    Kan said the accident "was" the worst. We know the accident "is" the worst.

    No past tense for the accident at Fukushima, It is a continuing saga. Never ending. Rogue apes have finally unleashed an assault on mother earth that can't be easily undone. The quality and length of human of life on this planet is in great jeopardy.

    The nuclear pollution from Fukushima may turn out to be a huge depopulating event over the next 50 years accompanied by a serious reduction in the average human life span. We may go full circle back to the average life spans of humans 10,000 years ago. Old at 30, dead by 40.

    What a terrible legacy these nuclear mobsters have bestowed on our beautiful planet.
    Mother Earth wept.


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  • nedlifromvermont

    I heartily agree with my fellow posters! South Korea nuke industry is in trouble with 100 people facing indictments and lots of inspections not done (link is in geoharvey@wordpress.com) and the British fools don't need the Hinckley Point reactor … China seems to be waking up to the "promise of nuclear" which is radioactive poisons leading to widespread disease of innocents everywhere.

    So we are winning even while we are losing (F-D falling apart.) One forestry colleague engaged in conversation at the grocery store said a nuclear guy who went to Japan in 2011 told him there are massive problems at eight reactors in Japan … while we are focused on three melt outs, five spent fuel pools and other unknowns …

    We need to support conversions like Naoto Kan's … these are powerful. People who heretofore had supported nuke and now find their opinion changed 180 degrees. This is powerful anti-nuke selling point.

    F-D appears to be headed for the Pacific Ocean and no way to keep it out. Why aren't we taking the other 500 plus spent FOOL pools seriously … like the ones at Turkey Point, Florida, two feet above sea level, which will soon be swallowed up by a rising Atlantic. How stupid do they know we are, those foul nuclear monsters who promised PROGRESS and cheap electricity, and who delivered us two hundred thousand years of elevated cancer risk and genomic destruction??

    Bring on the show trials and the kangaroo courts!

    peace …


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  • Wyakin Wyakin

    Hi Kevin-Agreed we should be aware of false prophets.

    Perhaps you can expand on your use of the phrase “militantly forwarding teh change we want to see then meekly adopting the false narrative they force upon us.”

    Kan, Gunderson, Freeman, and Hiroaki Koide once wholeheartedly supported NP, now they in varying degrees rejected it, and have articulated abundant narrative supporting their positions. Note that Kan is no longer in a position of authority and by all measures has been ostracized from the Japanese political establishment long before his March 2013 presentation in NY.

    Basically what I understand from what you write, is that you reject the value of the contribution these individuals have to framing the antinuclear NP conversation and instead opt for militantly forwarding an agenda or a message.

    This seems antithetical and perhaps destructive to the cause of ending NP and addressing the ongoing debacle at FU.

    Please elaborate on your concepts.

    SP-agreed. Always appreciate your commentary.

    Peace.


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    • Oncewaslost Oncewaslost

      I am not sure how "trust but verify" is a rejection. SO I fail to comprehend that conclusion of yours.

      Rather I suggest we contemplate offerings (especially from politicians) in context. A context that includes their historical record on the issue.

      Just as we understand Gunderson to be employed in the nuclear industry and hence accept his input reflects that.

      There are very few actually working to end nuclear power, and when measured against the sheer immensity of its proponents and its unbridled power it is imperative that activism be more focused on outcomes when applying or supporting tactics versus simply adopting the rhetoric of those who have clearly displayed their affiliations in the past.

      So you will not find me berating Kan when he expresses a conclusion that nuclear power should come to an end. However when he also misinforms in the same piece, and then discusses a rather abstract 50 year feel good agenda, his commentary becomes less relevant, his intent less clear.

      However, if as the X PM he expressed action he took, say, approaching the emperor with this opinion and advocating an action plan to ensure the reactors are not re-engaged then such effort is clearly worth supporting.

      The world is full of empty meaningless feel good rhetoric and as it slowly fills up with Fukushima radionuclides there is less room for it. There comes a tipping point where it becomes destructive and undermines real effort to face the challenge before us.

      That…


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  • Wyakin Wyakin

    Nedli-good comments. You often seem to show up right before I have finished posted something. My comments were in reference to posts prior to yours.

    On the other reactors, more information on Daini is warranted. Not sure about the balance to make up 8.

    Keep up the good and appreciated commentary. Peace.


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  • rakingmuck

    I am in procession of Kan's notes from March 11-15th 2011. Very little known fact. US planes were in the air at his request waiting to drop both water and cement forming mixture into reactors. Due to hatred of America by Japanese Army he was told an unconditional "NO". He begged. They walked out taking TEPCO employees with them. He called planes off. This all could have been avoided. He blames himself endlessly.


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  • Matilda Matilda

    @ rakingmuck, I didn't know that!
    I remember only that Kan said NO when Tepco asked for leaving F1.

    If he wouldn't do that the disaster would be quicker and greater. Without repaired streets and energy and later on fresh water we now would have an exclusion area at least from Tokai till Onagawa.
    Allso I don't want to imagine how at least the SFP of R4 would react under "raining" cement…

    My opinion: The ongoing disaster was and is not to stop, but now we have the smaller and slower version.


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  • Wyakin Wyakin

    Kevin-thank you for your clarification. There is nothing you are expressing in that clarification I would fundamentally disagree with.(I agree.) Peace.


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  • Misleading statements designed to decrease the emphasis of the world's greatest catastrophe.

    1. "…the crippled Fukushima power plant…"
    – AP ( and many others)

    Replace 'crippled' with 'completely destroyed triple meltdowns' that have been out of control for over 2.5 years and there is no end in sight.

    It's NOT crippled! ;)

    2. "…to mitigate a spate of mishaps…"
    – Associated Press

    This line of BS comes across like there's nothing really to worry about.

    What they are calling 'mishaps' are actually high priority problems that are affecting the entire planet. :(

    mishap: …a small mistake or amount of bad luck.

    Don't be fooled by this rhetoric.
    目覚める…!!!


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  • DannieJ DannieJ

    "It is possible for mankind to get enough energy without relying on nuclear power — by using natural energy such as solar, wind, and biomass. To help curb global warming, we need to stop the use of not only nuclear power but also fossil fuels."

    Talk about omissions on an Orwellian scale.

    Sure it's possible, of course we'd have to dismantle our entire society and become a global village somehow, but yeah sure, totally possible.


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  • babbo dorian babbo dorian

    I personally think that there is no more sfp's
    Think "they" are going to make something really big in november that will affect every creature in world.
    We will see pretty soon…… sorry…… good luck to all …. we will need it


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  • Jebus

    This disaster would have been way back in the fadaway memories of the public, had not 3 coriums went ex vessel and in the ground or those reactors were never caught exploding on "tape".
    All of the effort is being put forth towards obfuscating what already happened by making you look at what might be happening.
    Think about it. There is/was no worries when the reactors melted out and blew up. Fuel pools burned, no worries, no immediate harm.
    Massive amounts of radionuclide laced corium water into the ocean, every day, 24/7, for over two and a half years. "We got it contained to the harbor!" says Mr.Abe.
    Look at what has already happened. Add it up. It's massive, the damage thats been done, no turning back. Fuck…
    Now were supposed to watch another sideshow and go "whew" when all goes well. Watch how it goes. WE will probably be watching the SFP #6 rod removal.
    When I add up the "already happened" parts of this megadisaster, that continues today, and will continue for a long, long time, I see a result that is not favorable, even without the SFP #4 fuel removal issue. Thats why it is used in this marquee way. Gonna be all good when they succeed. They'll be hero's…
    It really does not matter one way or the other, just one's quicker.
    IMHO, much damage has been done, most don't know it yet…


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