Last year’s Fukushima nuclear disaster in Northeast Japan could have been avoided, Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) admitted at a recent conference in Tokyo. A parliamentary inquiry found that bad habits and the absence of a strong safety culture resulted in the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. Three reactors melted down after an earthquake-triggered tsunami engulfed the plant on 11 March, releasing obscene quantities of radiation into the air and sea and forcing at least 160,000 people from their homes.
Although Tepco President Naomi Hirose formerly denied that the company could have foreseen the tsunami or made preparations accordingly, Takefumi Anegawa, the head of Tepco’s company reform taskforce, told reporters at the Foreign Correspondent Club of Japan that the parliamentary committee’s report revealed “so many descriptions about the lack of a safety culture and our bad habits,” that the company admits to being true.
The Fukushima plant and subsequent cleanup is now under government control and Dale Klein, a former chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, explained that Tepco has undergone critical self-evaluation in order to improve their management performance and avoid any further “collusions with regulators” of which they are accused. Only two of Japan’s 50 nuclear power plants are currently being operated and the country hopes to phase out the technology altogether by the end of 2030s.
Via The Guardian
Lead image of nuclear power plant, Shutterstock