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Nearly a year after one of the worst man-made disasters in history, Japan has decided who’s to blame: no one. Even as government and private reports reveal the full extent of the Fukushima nuclear power disaster — and the decades of falsified safety records, unheeded warnings and industry incompetence that preceded it – there has been little attempt to hold companies or individuals accountable.
No one has been arrested, charged or indicted. No criminal investigations are underway. No class-action lawsuits have been filed. The only person to lose his job has been the president of the company that owns the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co., also known as Tepco. Stephen Hesse, a professor of environmental law at Tokyo’s Chuo University, says the nature of Japanese society makes it unlikely that anyone involved will ever face criminal or civil charges.
“I would like to see somebody at least brought up on charges. I would like to see a class-action lawsuit,” says Hesse. “But there’s a great sense of fatalism and passivity and acceptance when it comes to this kind of problem in Japan.
People are not going to demand their legal rights to hold others accountable – legal rights that they don’t even know they have.” The March 11, 2011, disaster left 80,000 people permanently homeless; exposed hundreds, if not thousands, to potentially deadly radiation; and polluted vast stretches of farmland and ocean. Tepco has asked for $130 billion in taxpayer money to pay compensation claims, and tens of billions more will be needed to clean up the environmental damage.
Only now are the true causes of the disaster emerging.
The Big Lie was integral to the nuclear push from its start. Promoters of nuclear power discounted the seriousness of nuclear plant accidents, although government documents acknowledged the vast scale of catastrophe. As the Atomic Energy Commission’s “WASH-740 update,” done at Brookhaven National Laboratory in the 1960s, repeatedly states about a major nuclear plant accident: “The possible size of the area of such a disaster might be equal to that of the State of Pennsylvania.”
They pushed the “peaceful atom”—although knowing that any nation with a nuclear plant would have the materiel from it (the plutonium produced as a byproduct) and trained personnel to make atomic weapons.
They downplayed the effects of radioactivity claiming it needed to reach a “threshold” to cause harm—even as it became clear that any amount of radioactivity can injure and kill.
And nuclear power would be “too cheap to meter,” they insisted.
And on and on…
At 10:28 am on March 6, for the purpose of determining soundness of reactor primary containment vessel of unit 2 and internal facilities, airlock* for the workers was opened and started visual inspection. * airlock for the workers hatch to enter into the primary containment vessel