Fukushima Probe: Nuclear disaster far from over — Gov’t evaded admitting meltdowns and delayed disclosure of radiation data

Published: December 26th, 2011 at 9:48 am ET
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Japan probe finds nuclear disaster response failed, Associated Press, Dec 26, 2011:

Japan’s response to the nuclear crisis that followed the March 11 tsunami was confused and riddled with problems [...] a report revealed Monday

  • Government dallied in relaying information to the public
  • Using evasive language to avoid admitting serious meltdowns at the reactors
  • Government also delayed disclosure of radiation data in the area, unnecessarily exposing entire towns to radiation when they could have evacuated
  • “The nuclear disaster is far from over,” the report said
  • It recommended separating the nuclear regulators from the unit that promotes atomic energy, echoing frequent criticism since the disaster
Published: December 26th, 2011 at 9:48 am ET
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14 comments

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14 comments to Fukushima Probe: Nuclear disaster far from over — Gov’t evaded admitting meltdowns and delayed disclosure of radiation data

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    Nice to see AP picking up this theme. Am I the only one thinking “why so late?” “why dateline it December 26, when the audience is probably tiny?”


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  • arclight arclight

    Japan’s nuclear regulators were in the same ministry that promotes the industry, but they are being moved to the environment ministry next year to ensure more independence.

    The report did not advocate a move away from nuclear power but recommended adding more knowledgeable experts, including those who would have been able to assess tsunami risks, and laying out an adequate response plan to what it called “a severe accident.”

    environment ministry next year to ensure more independence??

    “A Ministry of the Environment official has dumped radioactive soil on a vacant lot of land near his home in Saitama Prefecture after the soil was sent to the ministry by a Fukushima resident, it has been announced.

    Environment Minister Goshi Hosono revealed during a press conference on Nov. 17 that an employee of his ministry had thrown away the soil containing radioactive materials near his home after the soil apparently collected in the city of Fukushima was sent to the ministry earlier this month. The ministry has so far received such soil twice, and the dumped soil was one of the two portions.

    “It is something that should never have happened at the Environment Ministry, which is in charge of decontaminating radioactive materials. I deeply apologize to the general public,” Hosono said.

    According to the ministry, a cardboard box smaller than one containing A4 copy paper was sent to the ministry at around 9 a.m. on Nov. 8. Inside the box was a portion of soil wrapped in a plastic bag and a letter reading, “This soil was collected at my home in Fukushima city. I want the Environment Ministry to keep it and dispose of it,” with the sender’s name added. The letter also contained data on radiation dosages measured around the sender’s home….”

    cont…


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    • arclight arclight

      “… cont..The levels of radiation emitted from the soil were 0.18 microsieverts per hour when measured 0.8 meters away and 0.6 microsieverts outside the plastic bag containing the soil. The radioactive concentration of the soil was estimated to be around 4,000 becquerels per kilogram.

      When ministry officials were discussing how to dispose of the contaminated soil, the chief of the General Affairs Division of the Environment Minister’s Secretariat reportedly said, “I understand the feeling of the resident who sent the soil. Since its radiation dosage is low, shall I throw it away in the garden of my house in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture?” Later, an employee of the same division took the soil to his home in Saitama Prefecture on Nov. 12 and dumped it on a nearby vacant land lot the following day.

      After a smaller box with a content label reading “ash” was sent to the ministry apparently from the same sender on Nov. 16, the General Affairs Division reported the cases to Hosono and other high-ranking ministry officials, prompting the inappropriate soil disposal to surface. The ministry measured the radiation levels of the second box without opening it and found that the levels were about the same as those emitted from the soil in the first box.

      Hosono said the ministry employee’s action was extremely inappropriate and could violate a special measures law on the handling of radioactive contamination emanating from the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, which bans the dumping of contaminated soil without permission. The law will come into effect in January next year. The minister added that he is considering punishing the ministry employees concerned, including transferring the General Affairs Division chief to another section, as well as questioning his own supervisory responsibility.”

      (Mainichi Japan) November 17, 2011

      cached

      http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20111117p2a00m0na021000c.html


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  • aigeezer aigeezer

    That’s some punishment: “punishing the ministry employees concerned, including transferring the General Affairs Division chief to another section”

    For what it’s worth, in my part of the world (not Japan) there have been numerous situations in which the environment ministry was alleged to be in the pocket of various industries. I have no reason to think that these bad practices stop just because the perps have a new sign on their office door.


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  • unspokenhermit

    A newly released report on the Fukushima nuclear crisis says it was down to the plant’s operators being ill-prepared and not responding properly to the earth…

    I recently came across these atmpospheric simulations, produced an American independent organization, that indicate TEPCO vastly under-reported radionuclide emissions from the Fukushima Plant.

    http://www.datapoke.org/blog/8/study-modeling-fukushima-npp-radioactive-contamination-dispersion-utilizing-chino-m-et-al-source-terms/

    http://www.datapoke.org/partmom/a=40

    I’ve suspected for some time that the publicly released emissions data had been manipulated – If the models are correct I suppose this re enforces my hunch. Is there anyone here that can help us explain the implications of this model?


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