[The report of National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC) ] Nuclear Power Plant restarted - Proposals not respected

Original text from Ryusaku Tanaka Journal 05.07.2012 http://tanakaryusaku.jp/2012/07/0004634勝俣恒久・東電会長(当時)。事故発生時、記者クラブを引き連れて中国に接待旅行に出かけていた。指揮が遅れた原因に。=国会内、写真:田中撮影=

The then Chairman of TEPCO, Tsunehisa Katsumata. He was on a facility trip in China with Kisha Club (Reporter's club in Japan) when the accident happened. His absence delayed the accident response. At National Diet : Photo by Ryusaku Tanaka

Cabinet Office blamed TEPCO, TEPCO blamed Cabinet Office and then Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan blamed TEPCO… These concerned tissues traded blame on the accident at the witness hearing that NAIIC carried out. 
Each time the former PM Naoto Kan, the then TEPCO chairman Katsumata or Haruki Madarame, the then committee chairman of Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan gave a self-serving answer, I felt an urge to throw my shoe at them and shout "Do you know how many people you pushed into an abyss of despair?!!" 
"It's evident that the accident is man-made"
After probing the Fukushima NPP accident since December last year, NAIIC today released a report. The hearing took more than 900 hours and 1.167 persons including the field workers were summoned. The site visits was carried out 9 times to Fukushima Daiichi NPP (Unit 1), Fukushima Daini NPP (Unit 2) and Onagawa NPP. The then PM and the then TEPCO chairman were summoned as unsworn witnesses. NAIIC compiled its 640-page report after the strict verifications. The report compiled by commissioners who are independent from Japanese nuclear promoters said the accident is man-made from the beginning.
The detailed and concrete analysis was made on the cause of the accident, the progress of the accident and the accident response.  "Melt-down", "Injection of sea water", "The content of tele-conversation between the prime minister and the accident site"… What happened at the time was described in the report as well as the concerned personnel by actual names such as Masao Yoshida, the director of Fukushima Daiichi NPP, and the then prime minister Kan. 
Then it points out that the intervention of the Cabinet Office to the accident site caused a time loss, and moreover, created the confusion in command system
The most important fruit of the report is 7 proposals for preventing the recurrence of such accidents. 
- A permanent committee should be established in National Diet for supervising the regulating authorities. 
-National Diet should strictly monitor Federation of Electric Power Companies in Japan to prevent them from applying unjust pressure on the regulating authorities. 
However, none of these proposal was respected and KEPCO's Ôi NPP was restarted. 
The proposals were stepped on. The nuclear accident will happen again. 
The Former Prime Minister, Naoto Kan. His answers to shift responsibility to TEPCO were remarkable. At National Diet : Photo by Ryusaku Tanaka
General description of the account report 
For the elites who join the companies or ministries, the follow-suit principal and protecting the interests of their organization have become the important missions in order to get the the top position. These missions prevented them from paying attention to trends of public security, which caused introduction of security measures to be postponed. Nuclear Power Plants in Japan were thus "defenseless" when the disaster occurred on March 11.
It's evident that the accident is a man-made disaster, which is to say, an absence of responsibility of protecting public security and society on the part of the previous and current government, regulating authorities and TEPCO management caused the accident. 
Recommendation 1:Monitoring of the nuclear regulatory body by the National Diet
A permanent committee to deal with issues regarding nuclear power must be established in the National Diet in order to supervise the regulators to secure the safety of the public.

Recommendation 2: Reform the crisis management system
A fundamental reexamination of the crisis management system must be made. The bound- aries dividing the responsibilities of the national and local governments and the operators must be made clear.

Recommendation 3: The governmental Response to public health and welfare
The government should immediately take the following measures to protect public health and safety, and to restore infrastructure, while monitoring the situation in the disaster area on a long-term constant basis. 
The government should implement the policies needed to enable residents to choose among returning home, relocation and compensation. 
Recommendation 4: Monitoring the operators
In order to prevent the Federation of Electric Power Companies (FEPC) from being used as a route for negotiating with regulatory agencies, new relationships among the electric power companies must also be established—built on safety issues, mutual supervision and transparency.
Recommendation 5: Criteria for the new regulatory body
Recommendation 6: Reforming laws related to nuclear energy
Recommendation 7: Develop a system of independent investigation commissions

The gist of conclusion

 [The original cause of the accident] 
According to NAIIC, It is supposed that Fukushima Daiichi NPP was in fragile shape and there was no guarantee that it could withstand earthquakes or tsunami as at March 11th. 
It turned out that the regulating authorities made the business operator to draw up a document regarding the reasons to consider station blackout was unlikely to occur. (....) In fact, the previous and current regulating authorities and TEPCO top management hadn't introduced security measures until March 11th, and on each occasion which pressed them to review the security measures, they intentionally postponed it, neglected the issue or made decisions to the advantage of themselves, which resulted in this time's accident. (....)
Being given informational advantage, electricity monopoly TEPCO, which should have been ruled out by safety regulations, pressured the regulating authorities to postpone control or relax safety criterion through a tissue such as Federation of Electric Power Company of Japan. There was a strong tie between TEPCO and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) who promotes nuclear power policy and serves as supervisory authority of electricity business, and this allowed TEPCO to apply pressure on the regulating authorities. TEPCO  increased attachment to METI's Nuclear and Industry Safety Agency (NISA) against this background. 
Regarding the relationship between the regulating authorities and TEPCO, their position was utterly reversed and the regulating authorities became a "slave" of the company. It is considerable that administrative surveillance and supervisory function accordingly collapsed. (....)
Considering that they had several occasions to introduce security measures, it can be considered that the accident was caused not by the natural disaster but a human error. 
 [The direct cause of the accident] 
 NAIIC verified that TEPCO and the regulating authorities were aware in advance that there were risks of earthquake as well as tsunami. They can't have any excuse. 
 [The issue of crisis response] 
 In addition to malfunction of NISA, as TEPCO head office didn't have enough information,  a mutual distrust between the Cabinet Office and TEPCO was developed. As a result, the prime minister went directly to the accident site and provided direction. The Cabinet Office continued to intervene directly in the accident response even after that, which caused a time loss at the scene of accident, and also increased confusion of the chain of command. 
    [Issue resolution] 
Although it is verified that this time's accident was a man-made disaster, attributing it to a fault of particular individual is not a solution to the root of the issue and this doesn't lead the government to regain public's faith in politics. What lied behind of it was non-transparent nature of the organizations and institutions which justified themselves and didn't preserve records in order to evade responsibility, as well as legal frameworks that permit these circumstances. Also, one thing that all of these concerned personnel share is their ignorance and conceit, which is absolutely unacceptable as those who engaged in the nuclear industry, as well as their tissue-dependent mindset that made them ignore the global tide and give a top priority to the interests of their organizations over public security.
It's considered that the systematic and institutional issue caused the man-made disaster. To prevent the recurrence of such accidents, it is required to ultimately solve the issue instead of solely changing the people and the name of the organizations. 
  [To realize the recommendations] 
 The accident is not over. The victims are still facing an unknown future. It is necessary to implement new security measures that  reflect public opinion. 
Courtesy : Ryûsaku Tanaka

NAIIC Website : http://www.naiic.jp/en/
 to download the account report http://naiic.go.jp/en/  or http://www.naiic.jp/en/2012/07/05/finalreport/

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