Sonntag, 13. November 2011

TEPCO's transparency action leaves more questions then answers

On Saturday 12th, TEPCO granted for the first time access to three dozen Japanese and international journalists, since the disaster in Fukushima-Daiichi NPP. TEPCO's publicity stunt to reassure the international press and public opinion backfires as it leaves more questions then answers. Journalists from Guardian, N.Y Times and the Telegraph report high levels of radiation as they approach the site op the Fukushima-Daiichi 1 Plant and report of skyrocketing radiation levels and chaos.
"Martin Fackler, the New York Times' Tokyo bureau chief, said the site was strewn with piles of rubble virtually untouched since the tsunami struck. He said: "There's debris all around where the reactors are – twisted metal, crumpled trucks, large water tanks that have been dented and bent. "You can see that this stuff has been strewn around and it has not been picked up and it's been there for eight months. "So I think that more than anything is a testament to how difficult a time they've had in trying to get those reactors under control." Radiation levels were still "very high", he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme." The reporters, mostly from the Japanese media, were accompanied by the environment minister, Goshi Hosono, who is in charge of the clean-up operation. They were not allowed near the reactor buildings. "I think it's remarkable that we've come this far," Hosono said. "The situation at the beginning was extremely severe. At least we can say we have overcome the worst." Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), which runs the plant, has succeeded in bringing down the temperatures at the three damaged reactors from levels considered dangerous. "From the data at the plant that I have seen, there is no doubt that the reactors have been stabilised," Masao Yoshida, the chief of Fukushima Daiichi plant, told the reporters. But while it was now possible for workers to enter the reactor buildings, Yoshida said conditions for those working there remained dangerous. Tepco hopes to complete a "cold shutdown" – when temperatures are stable below boiling point – of the damaged reactors by the end of the year. But Hosono warned it could take more than 30 years to completely decommission the plant. Hiroaki Koide, a nuclear physicist at Kyoto University, said he doubted the decommissioning process will go as smoothly as the government hopes. He said pools for spent fuel remain highly volatile, and cleaning up the three reactor cores that melted down due to a failure of the cooling systems will be a huge challenge. "Nobody knows where exactly the fuel is, or in what condition," he said. "The reactors will have to be entombed in a sarcophagus, with metal plates inserted underneath to keep it watertight. But within 25 to 30 years, when the cement starts decaying, that will have to be entombed in another layer of cement. It's just like Russian Matryoshka dolls, one inside the other." (via

The devastation and power of the explosions of reactor 3 are now revealed as Japanese and International journalists shoot images of it during the 1-hour trip inside the Fukushima complex: The next pictures show Reactor 3 as it is today: crippled and leaking massive amounts of radioactivity.
Fackler continues: "Finally, we got our first proper look at the damaged reactor buildings. No 1 was covered by a new superstructure, No 2 was intact. No 2 was in worst shape: it was a skeletal frame, largely collapsed into a pile of rubble. I spotted three cranes clearing up rubble at No 3, in preparation for also capping off that building with a superstructure. No. 4 was also severely damaged. The building was intact, but it had clearly buckled, with concrete slabs blown out. The entire south side of the building was blown out, exposing the green crane for spent fuel rod pool. At this point, around 1,640 feet from the reactors, I stopped to check my radiation reader: 50 microsieverts per hour" Fackler later states that his the instruments showed readings up to 300 mS/h. As a reference a German NPP worker should not be exposed to more than 400 m/S per year meaning that at this hotspot you would get your yearly dosis in little more than an hour. Japanese and International Press remain very skeptical towards the management of the crisis in Fukushima.

Pictures: (c) Kyodo via AP-Images & Getty via CBS


  1. This was stupid by TEPCO, now the whole world knows what's going on after seeing these pictures and footagr

  2. what else you expect from TEPCO...


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