6 Juillet 2012
July 6, 2012
The Diet investigative panel report on the Fukushima nuclear crisis has revealed the details of a telephone conversation in which a senior official of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) instructed the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant chief to stop pumping seawater into one of the stricken reactors on the second day of the crisis.
The heated telephone exchange was between plant manager Masao Yoshida and Ichiro Takeguro -- a TEPCO employee on an executive fellowship assignment to the prime minister's office -- on March 12, 2011. At the time, then Prime Minister Naoto Kan was in discussion with Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan Chairman Haruki Madarame and others over the potential for the seawater to cause recriticality.
"Hey, hey, are you doing that? Stop it!" Takeguro is quoted in the report as telling Yoshida over the seawater injections.
When Yoshida asked why, Takeguro shouted angrily, "You, don't talk back. The prime minister's office is grumbling."
Yoshida then asked Takeguro, "What are they saying?" After that, the call was cut off, according to the report.
Yoshida was quoted in the report as saying later, "I could have talked if it was (TEPCO) headquarters telling me to stop (pumping seawater), but I couldn't discuss the situation if it was the prime minister's office, a complete bystander, telling me to halt the operation. They just ordered me to stop." He said the call from the prime minister's office was confusing, though he did order the plant workers to continue pumping seawater into the reactor.
The Diet investigative panel report stated that TEPCO paid unnecessary attention to Kan, hampering its response to the nuclear disaster as a result.