‘Fukushima disaster could have been avoided’: TEPCO takes blame in strongest terms ever

Members of the media wearing protective suits and masks being escorted by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) employees as they visit near the No.4 reactor (C) and the construction of a foundation (R) for storage of melted fuel rods at TEPCO's tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in the town of Okuma, Fukushima prefecture (AFP Photo / Pool / Issei Kato)

Japanese Power Company TEPCO has taken most of the blame for the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster two years after. The catastrophe could have been avoided if not for the company’s shortcomings, it says in a report.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) the utility that operates
Japan’s crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant acknowledged that
the company was not prepared to deal with the earthquake and
tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011. 

“We need to sincerely accept the outcome that we were not
able to prevent an accident that should have been prevented by
making preparations,”
TEPCO President Naomi Hirose said at a
press conference, as quoted by Japanese Kyodo news agency.

In particular TEPCO’s equipment and safety measures were
insufficient, according to the report. Among the admitted missteps
the company named the improper location of the backup power
systems, which almost immediately broke down and made the nuclear
crisis inevitable.

TEPCO also admitted that it failed to inform the public of risks
and troubles at the plant.

The company has begun distributing application forms to 50,000
households who evacuated from 11 affected municipalities after the
nuclear disaster. The property owners are seeking compensation for
land and buildings in the nuclear no-go zone near the power plant,
Japanese NHK News agency reports. The estimated total compensation
could reach 7.6 billion dollars, according to the utility.

A senior TEPCO official expressed regret about the delay in
implementing the program, as it was more difficult than expected to
identify the owners of the property and set compensation levels for
damage, according to NHK.

Pprotesters hold placards and shout slogans as they take part in a rally in front of Japan's parliament, to demonstrate against the use of nuclear power following the 2011 Fukushima atomic crisis, in Tokyo on July 29, 2012 (AFP Photo / Kazuhiro Nogi)

The report is part of the investigation launched last

Earlier TEPCO claimed the main cause of the nuclear disaster at
the Fukushima Dai-ichi was the 15-meter high tsunami wave that
exceeded all expectations in the event of a major earthquake.

This position is at odds with the results of the investigation
launched by Japan’s government, which claimed the main cause
appears to have been the human factor.

The 9.0- magnitude earthquake and the tsunami that followed hit
the northeast coast of Japan on March 11, 2011.

It damaged the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, causing
meltdowns in three reactors that spewed radiation into the
surrounding soil and water. The government imposed a 20-kilometer
‘no-entry’ zone around the plant area.

There have been reports on the record high radiation found in
the  fish in the waters near the crippled plant and some
have speculated that radioactive water may be flowing from the
plant into the ocean.

A cold shutdown in a nuclear reactor is when the reactor’s
coolant system is at atmospheric pressure and at a temperature
below 200 degrees Fahrenheit (95 degrees Celsius), so the water
cooling the fuel in a light water reactor does not boil.

The disaster forced the evacuation of 160,000 local residents.
Thousands more just outside the official contamination zone made
their own decision to flee.

In March 2013 an electricity outage disabled nine facilities at
the Fukushima plant, including cooling systems of four storage
pools for used fuel rods, but they were repaired quickly. TEPCO
confirmed that a rat-like-animal caused the power outrage.

Currently the problematic power units are in a state of cold
shutdown. The used fuel rods stored in special cooling pools in the
reactor buildings of the plant are planned to be extracted by the
end of this year. The melted reactor fuel is expected to be removed
only by 2022.

The dismantling of the nuclear power plant could take at least
40 years, although the government is looking for ways to reduce
this time.

TEPCO also runs the largest nuclear power plant in the world,
the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. The plant had
difficulties after the 2007 earthquake and was shut down, but
reopened in 2009.

Source Article from http://rt.com/news/japan-nuclear-crisis-blame-053/

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