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Report finds new explanations for Fukushima disaster

A report released by the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission released July 5 has unsettled the standard explanations for what caused the meltdown and failure of the reactors in Japan in March 2011.


A report released by the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission released July 5 has unsettled the standard explanations for what caused the meltdown and failure of the reactors in Japan in March 2011.

Commentators on the disaster have often said that the main factor that led to the giant meltdown was the tsunami which overwhelmed the emergency generators with sea water, thereby making the safety and cooling systems inoperable.

However, the NAIIC report says: “We conclude that TEPCO was too quick to cite the tsunami as the cause of the nuclear accident and deny that the earthquake caused any damage. We believe there is a possibility that the earthquake damaged equipment necessary for ensuring safety, and that there is also a possibility that a small-scale LOCA occurred in Unit 1. We hope these points will be examined further by a third party.”

Besides finding that the earthquake had an important impact, the commission’s report laid blame on the shoulders of the energy utilities, regulators and government for failing to protect public safety and ignoring legal mandates to implement safety regulations. It concludes, “The TEPCO Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO, and the lack of governance by said parties. They effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents. Therefore, we conclude that the accident was clearly “manmade.” We believe that the root causes were the organizational and regulatory systems that supported faulty rationales for decisions and actions, rather than issues relating to the competency of Japan had closed all its nuclear plants after the accident, but early this month it reopened a reactor at the Ohi nuclear plant, spawning public demonstrations and protests.

To see the NAIIC report (in English), click here.

To see CCE’s editorial comment, click here.