Could the catastrophe that caused the nuclear disaster at Fukishima been predicted?  It not only could have it was. But Japan’s nuclear regulators and utilities not only ignored the predictions but supressed them.

But some insiders from Japan’s tightly knit nuclear industry have stepped forward to say that Tepco and regulators had for years ignored warnings of the possibility of a larger-than-expected tsunami in northeastern Japan, and thus failed to take adequate countermeasures, such as raising wave walls or placing backup generators on higher ground.

They attributed this to a culture of collusion in which powerful regulators and compliant academic experts looked the other way while the industry put a higher priority on promoting nuclear energy than protecting public safety. They call the Fukushima accident a wake-up call to Japan to break the cozy ties between government and industry that are a legacy of the nation’s rush to develop after World War II.

“March 11 exposed the true nature of Japan’s postwar system, that it is led by bureaucrats who stand on the side of industry, not the people,” said Shigeaki Koga, a former director of industrial policy at the Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry, or METI, which both promotes and regulates the nuclear industry.

One of those whose warnings were ignored was Kunihiko Shimazaki, a retired professor of seismology at the University of Tokyo. Eight years ago, as a member of an influential cabinet office committee on offshore earthquakes in northeastern Japan, Mr. Shimazaki warned that Fukushima’s coast was vulnerable to tsunamis more than twice as tall as the forecasts of up to 17 feet put forth by regulators and Tepco.

Minutes of the meeting on Feb. 19, 2004, show that the government bureaucrats running the committee moved quickly to exclude his views from debate as too speculative and “pending further research.” None of the other 13 academics on the committee objected. Mr. Shimazaki’s warnings were not even mentioned in the committee’s final report two years later. He said the committee did not want to force Tepco to make expensive upgrades at the plant.

“They completely ignored me in order to save Tepco money,” said Mr. Shimazaki, 65.

But it’s different here in the US, right?  Wrong! (via The Agonist)

Transcript available at The Center for Investigative Reporting.  The same story, the regulators are captives of the nuclear industry placing millions of Americans in danger.

Cross posted at Newshoggers.

RON BEASLEY, Assistant Editor
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The_Ohioan
Guest
The_Ohioan
4 years 6 months ago
Germany has decided to decommission all their nuclear power plants by 2022. France, which relies on nuclear power for fully 3/4 of their energy use, is in the throes of making a decision on further use. “Since the Japanese accident, France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (the ASN) released a report announcing a sweeping safety upgrade to all the country’s reactors. The ASN’s report states plainly that a loss of coolant or electricity could, in the worst cases, see meltdowns at nuclear reactors in hours. It also lists many shortcomings found during ‘stress tests’, in which some safety aspects of plants were… Read more »
Dean Esmay, Guest Voice Columnist
Member
Far more people were hurt or suffered long-term damages from chemical plant explosions and other things caused by that tsunami, and it remains that by every objective measure nuclear has shown itself to be far less hazardous to human health and the environment than conventional means or even solar. Public hysteria over nuclear power remains grossly out of proportion to its dangers; what Fukishima did more than anything proved just how incredibly safe nuclear power really is. It’s tragic for Germany (and Europe) that they’ve made this foolish move, and sad that this is being used as yet another attack… Read more »
Dean Esmay, Guest Voice Columnist
Member

I should add that not only have wind, solar, hydro, and conventional all hurt and killed more Americans than nuclear, they’ve killed more people worldwide. That’s because they all have hazards no one likes to look at or talk about.

The bottom line is that Fukushima proved once again how incredibly safe nuclear is, but in their hysteria and ignorance the media (and tragically, many environmentalist organizations) continue to spread the hysteria, and as a result are harming the environment and creating unnecessary hazards to human health in so doing.

zephyr
Guest
zephyr
4 years 6 months ago

Dean, if you’re going to make a statement like this:

“I should add that not only have wind, solar, hydro, and conventional all hurt and killed more Americans than nuclear, they’ve killed more people worldwide. That’s because they all have hazards no one likes to look at or talk about.”

You will need to back it up with credible sources, otherwise it’s not going to be treated as nonsense.

zephyr
Guest
zephyr
4 years 6 months ago

EDIT: That last line should read “it’s going to be treated as nonsense”.

Sources please…

Dean Esmay, Guest Voice Columnist
Member
Ron: I have been intensely reading and watching the nuclear “debate” (if you can call it that, one side having so dominated with fear and demonization) for almost three decades now. So I started watching CIR’s video, but with all the standard pseudojournalistic tricks it starts with from the first moment (love that dramatic scary music and Very Concerned Voice, all the markings of a political advocacy piece or a campaign commercial) I lost interest in about 2 minutes, having the strong impression that I’ve seen this same song and dance too many times before. So before I invest another… Read more »
Dean Esmay, Guest Voice Columnist
Member

I should have typed “Kingston fossil plant disaster,” not “Kensington.” My bad.

Dean Esmay, Guest Voice Columnist
Member

Do remember: chemical spills and explosions release toxins into the ground, water, and air. You have to look at the damage of those, and they ARE long-term, just like nuclear. You can’t airily dismiss them.

zephyr
Guest
zephyr
4 years 6 months ago
Dean, thank-you for the source, it is appreciated. This is a quote from that source: “Rooftop solar is still a hundred times safer than coal and oil power because of air pollution deaths.” The reason there is any danger associated with solar power is because the roofing industry itself is inherently dangerous, not because there is anything dangerous about solar energy. As for wind and hydro? They are extremely low on the charts (again, your source) in terms of danger and shouldn’t be equated with conventional (coal and oil) power dangers. Nuclear has potential, but the safety issues, including the… Read more »
Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist
Member
Following up on Ron’s comment that “The reality is we won’t know for decades how many people will die from Fukishima the other things you mention are pretty immediate,” just happened to read in the Stars and Stripes http://www.stripes.com/news/data-on-radiation-toxin-exposure-following-quake-yet-to-be-released-1.171120 that “A year after hundreds of U.S. troops ventured into Japan’s damaged eastern regions to bring aid to earthquake and tsunami survivors, the levels of radiation and other toxins detected in and around the places they worked has yet to be released. Fears of a massive release of radiation from the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant gripped Japan in the days… Read more »
StockBoyLA
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StockBoyLA
4 years 6 months ago

Is it even possible to make a mobile “dirty bomb” made out if chemicals? I thought dirty bombs were made with nuclear material because it’s more harmful than chemicals.

rudi
Guest
rudi
4 years 6 months ago

Dirty bombs are not going to harm anyone. One could use powered lead and it’s affects would be just as bad as U235…

zephyr
Guest
zephyr
4 years 6 months ago
More food for thought re Chernobyl: “The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the death toll could reach 4,000 civilian deaths, a figure which does not include military clean-up worker casualties.[13] The Union of Concerned Scientists estimate that for the broader population there will be 50,000 excess cancer cases resulting in 25,000 excess cancer deaths.[14] The 2006 TORCH report predicted 30,000 to 60,000 cancer deaths as a result of Chernobyl fallout.[15] A Greenpeace report puts this figure at 200,000 or more. A Russian publication, Chernobyl, concludes that 985,000 premature cancer deaths occurred worldwide between 1986 and 2004 as a result… Read more »
JDave
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JDave
4 years 6 months ago

Dean,

Thank you very much.

Most arguments I hear against nuclear neglect three things:

1) all significant sources of energy are dangerous and their dangers need to be considered as well.

2) Accidents have occurred at plants with 50 yr old technology. Newer technology is inherently safer.

3) Even when accidents occurred backup systems prevented the worst. A carefully reasoned argument would discuss that. (no one is advocating building plants like the Soviets did, so Chernobyl doesn’t really apply to the argument)

Take those aspects seriously, then I’ll take the argument against nuclear seriously.

Needed_Medicine
Guest
Needed_Medicine
4 years 6 months ago
Those wanting information about nuclear energy can read all kinds of sources, that go back years and years. Here is one. Note the publisher as well as the author. Unlike anti-nuclear, both are qualified. http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/ There is no excuse since the 1950s for anyone being ignorant about nuclear energy, including why it’s so much safer and cleaner, not just because of what nuclear power is like but because of the extremely high power density that lets it do so much with so little, unlike other ways of making electricity or using power for other things. Anti-nuke people are extremely ignorant… Read more »
Dr. J
Guest
Dr. J
4 years 6 months ago
This post was not pro or anti nuke, it was about the lack of regulation of the nuclear industry. Ron, Fukushima and the American nuclear industry certainly had and have regulation, if you define that as regulators empowered to set rules to balance short-term operation against long-term safety and sustainability. They obviously failed. But the distinction between “no regulation” and “failed regulation” is important, because the former oversimplifies the problem. This wasn’t a case of absent regulators or regulators putting industry’s interests ahead of the public’s. Meltdowns aren’t in industry’s interest at all, and at the other extreme an expensive,… Read more »
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