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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

Lack of communication, late evacuation orders

December 26, 2014

Fukushima ex-governor slams government for tardy radiation evacuation orders




Former Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato had criticized the central government for failing to issue evacuation orders in a timely manner in March 2011 after the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant suffered three reactor core meltdowns and spewed radioactive fallout, according to records disclosed Thursday.

The central government at first did not provide any information about the meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, the records quoted Sato as saying.

“Because we received various information from local communities, I decided to issue an evacuation order,” Sato said.

The prefectural government issued an evacuation order on its own to people living within 2 km of the plant soon after the disaster started.

“An evacuation order from the central government came afterward,” the records quoted Sato as saying.

The records were taken by a government panel that interviewed many people, including Sato, as part of its investigation into the nuclear debacle.

Sato also said that Tepco should have released its estimate about the possibility of the plant being hit by huge tsunami based on evidence left by a massive earthquake that struck in 869, according to the records.

This is the third time that the government has disclosed records about the investigative panel’s interviews.

The newly disclosed records include interviews with senior industry ministry officials and officials at affected municipalities as well as employees of nuclear plant maker Hitachi Ltd.


December 25, 2014

Lack of communication in Fukushima disaster



Dec. 26, 2014 - Updated 04:49 UTC+1


Newly released testimony points to a failure to share key information during the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011.

The Japanese government on Thursday released another set of accounts of the disaster, containing testimony from government officials and staff at Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, who dealt with the disaster.

The accounts reveal that not all workers and officials knew that an emergency cooling system for the No.1 reactor had been manually shut down following the earthquake and tsunami.

Fuel rods at the No.1 reactor melted down later that day and a hydrogen explosion the next day damaged the reactor further.

In one account, a member of the TEPCO task force said he didn't know that the cooling system was unable to work due to a loss of power. He added that before the arrival of the tsunami, he was only informed by the shift head at the No.1 reactor that the team was trying to adjust the internal pressure of the reactor by using the cooling system.

Workers at the No.1 reactor later confirmed that the cooling system was off and they tried to turn it on by opening a valve. They failed to open the valve and closed it again.

The task force official said it was true that he had been informed the workers opened the valve and turned on the cooling system.
But he said there is no record that the valve was later closed, and he does not remember receiving information from the shift head about closing the valve.

Nuclear fuel also subsequently melted at the No.2 and No.3 reactors.

Some experts say the delayed response to the problems at the No.1 reactor worsened the situation at the plant.

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