15 Mai 2012
May 15, 2012
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) warned the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) in 2006 of the possibility of losing all power at nuclear power plants in the event of a tsunami, but this warning was ignored, it has been learned.
The warning came after the 2004 earthquake off of Sumatra and ensuing tsunami, but NISA did not press power companies to put in place tsunami countermeasures. A NISA official says, "If measures had been taken then, the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster might have been prevented."
The issuance of the warning was revealed by Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano at a press conference on May 15 after a Cabinet meeting.
NISA had been holding information sessions since January 2006 along with the Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization, TEPCO and other utilities. Because the tsunami from the Sumatra quake had forced a reactor-cooling seawater pump at a nuclear plant in India to go offline, effects and countermeasures for Japan's nuclear plants were discussed at the sessions. In August 2006, it was pointed out that a tsunami larger than expected could cause the seawater pump at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant to go offline.
However, on May 14 at a meeting of a Diet committee investigating the Fukushima disaster, TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata said, "The warning was not transmitted to me, and the executives did not consider countermeasures."