Fukushima Reactor Designer: Meltdowns would have likely occurred WITHOUT tsunami — A serious investigation on horizon? -NYT

Published: January 16th, 2012 at 8:00 am ET
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Title: Independent Panel to Start Inquiry Into Japan’s Nuclear Crisis
Source: NYTimes.com
Author: HIROKO TABUCHI
Date: January 15, 2012

A powerful and independent panel of specialists appointed by Japan’s Parliament is challenging the government’s account of the accident at a Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and will start its own investigation into the disaster — including an inquiry into how much the March earthquake may have damaged the plant’s reactors even before the tsunami. [...]

Quake or Tsunami?

Questions also linger as to the extent of damage to the plant caused by the earthquake even before the tsunami hit. Any evidence of serious quake damage at the plant would cast new doubt on the safety of other reactors in quake-prone Japan. Tsunamis are far less frequent.

Kiyoshi Kurokawa, chairman of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, a former leader of Tokyo University’s medical department and a professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies

  • “For Japan to regain global credibility, we need an investigation into the disaster that is completely independent”
  • He said he was aware of questions raised about quake damage to the plant, and that the committee “would investigate that issue vigorously”
  • “The lessons Japan can learn are globally relevant, because such a disaster can happen again”

Fukushima Daiichi Reactor Designer

The panel includes Mitsuhiko Tanaka, a former nuclear engineer at Babcock Hitachi who has argued that the quake was likely to have damaged reactors at the plant to the extent that meltdowns would have occurred without the tsunami. Tepco disputes that view. Mr. Tanaka worked on the design of the reactors.

Read the report here

See also: Japan Times: Journalist says Tepco not telling truth -- Blacking out key docs -- Evidence mounting Fukushima meltdowns caused by quake -- Would delay reactor restarts "by years"

Published: January 16th, 2012 at 8:00 am ET
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