ShareThis Page
Japan nuke plant accident a ‘profoundly man-made disaster’ |

Japan nuke plant accident a ‘profoundly man-made disaster’

| Thursday, July 5, 2012 9:58 p.m

TOKYO —The nuclear crisis last year at the Fukushima Daiichi plant was a “profoundly man-made disaster,” the result of poor earthquake-safety planning and faulty post-tsunami communication, according to a report from an independent parliamentary panel released on Thursday.

The sharp criticism of the Japanese government and the nuclear operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) provided an alternative narrative to an earlier investigation from Tepco, whose in-house panel concluded that the nuclear crisis was unforeseeable, spurred by a “giant tsunami beyond our imagination.” In contrast, the report released on Thursday suggested that the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that triggered the tsunami may have caused critical damage that led to the series of meltdowns.

It argued that the nuclear power plants could and should have been made more quake-proof, and blamed lax safety measures on what it called the country’s powerful and “collusive” decision-makers and on a conformist culture that allowed them to operate with little scrutiny.

The nuclear bloc, while reassuring the nation about its safe atomic plants, ignored safeguards that would have helped strengthen the Fukushima facility against a massive but foreseeable earthquake, the 641-page report said.

In a blistering assessment, authors described how regulators and nuclear operators went to painstaking lengths to either ignore safety risks at the plant or cover them up. It accused Tepco and government officials of slow and faulty communication after the disaster, which, the report said hampered the emergency response.

Both regulators and nuclear operators disregarded earlier warnings from outside watchdog groups that earthquakes posed a significant safety risk to the nuclear plants, an English summary of the report said. In the process, they “effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents.”

“What must be admitted — very painfully — is that this was a disaster ‘Made in Japan,’ ” investigation Chairman Kiyoshi Kurokawa wrote in the introduction to the report.

Categories: World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.