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“THROW yourself into a nuclear reactor and die!” one investor shouted. Japanese shareholders are usually more polite, but this was the annual meeting of TEPCO, the Japanese power company that owns the Fukushima nuclear plant. Since an earthquake in March caused a meltdown, TEPCO faces unlimited demands for compensation. Its shares have fallen by nearly 90% (see chart). A man at the meeting on June 28th suggested that the board take responsibility by committing seppuku, or ritual suicide.
Only the government can save TEPCO from bankruptcy. A bill submitted on June 14th to the Diet, Japan’s parliament, aims to enable the firm to pay compensation without going under. It would establish a mechanism for the government to channel truckloads of money to TEPCO, which the firm would then pass on to the victims. This would be repaid from TEPCO’s earnings, with help from other nuclear operators. The new entity could purchase TEPCO assets.
However, the bill is only a stop-gap. It may soothe TEPCO’s creditors. It may even reassure the public that payouts won’t lead to higher electricity bills. But critics grumble that the plan protects shareholders at the expense of taxpayers.
The long-term solutions being considered include bankruptcy, temporary nationalisation for the purpose of selling off assets, or capping TEPCO’s liability and making it, in addition to an energy provider, a vehicle for compensation payments. TEPCO favours a liability cap.
“When I meet with TEPCO officials, I don’t see any change in mindset; it’s as if nothing has changed,” sighs a nuclear-energy official.
Three-quarters of Japanese want to reduce or eliminate the country’s reliance on nuclear power—many more than before the accident.
The Fukushima disaster presents an opportunity for radical reform. But in a crisis people often grow conservative. Since the government holds the purse-strings, it can more or less dictate terms to TEPCO. The fear is that it will bankroll a return to business as usual.
Originally posted by siren8
You want radiation in your food. It kills food germs. If you ever see them stop irradiating your vegetables, its time to panic. We don't need e-coli here.
Not all radiation is dangerous to humans. You need to do your sesearch before you panic and encite others to worry over nothing.
Please do tell me which emissions you are worried about and how you are sure they got this far
Originally posted by jadedANDcynical
TEPCO favours a liability cap.
Maybe they should have worried about the RPV cap.
Originally posted by matadoor
Fukushima Spews, Los Alamos Burns, Vermont Rages & We Almost Lost Nebraska
Since the monitoring was conducted at night, we conducted measurements by opening the window of the car while remaining inside and stretching our arm outside with instruments in hand. This was done to reduce the risk of animal encounters
Originally posted by imlite
More information on UK Government disinformation concerning Fukushima.
Secret e-mails released concerning Western Government cover up and disinformation.
Governments didn't want Fukushima to derail nuclear power plans.
136 secret e-mails
Wonder if the MSM will pick up on this or will it be a Guardian exclusive again?edit on 30/6/11 by imlite because: (no reason given)
Louise Hutchins, a spokeswoman for Greenpeace, said the emails looked like "scandalous collusion". "This highlights the government's blind obsession with nuclear power and shows neither they, nor the industry, can be trusted when it comes to nuclear," she said.
A small amount of radioactive substances was found from urine samples of all of 10 children in Fukushima surveyed by a Japanese civic association and a French nongovernmental organization, the groups said Thursday.
David Boilley, president of the Acro radioactivity measuring body, told a news conference in Tokyo that the survey on 10 boys and girls aged between 6 and 16 in Fukushima city suggested there was a high possibility that children in and near the city had been exposed to radiation internally, Kyodo News reported.
The highest levels found by the survey were 1.13 becquerels of radioactive cesium-134 per 1 litre of urine from an 8-year-old girl, and 1.30 becquerels of cesium-137 in a 7-year-old boy, Kyodo said.
TOKYO—Some senior engineers at Tokyo Electric Power Co. knew for years that five of its nuclear reactors in Fukushima prefecture had a potentially dangerous design flaw, but the company didn't fully upgrade them, dooming them to failure when the earthquake hit, a Wall Street Journal examination of the disaster shows.
The tsunami exposed an Achilles heel in the design of some of the plants: the questionable placement of a single kitchen-table-size electric-switching station. At newer plants, the station was in a robust building that also housed the reactor. In others, it stood in a poorly protected outbuilding—a relic of the original design. When the tsunami hit, those switches were knocked out, rendering operating generators useless.
This article is based on interviews with a dozen current and former senior Tokyo Electric Power engineers, including several who were intimately involved when the fateful design decisions were made in the 1970s. Some of them say the company, known as Tepco, had opportunities over the decades to retrofit the oldest reactors. They blame a combination of complacency, cost-cutting pressures and lax regulation for the failure to do so.
"There's no doubt Tepco should have applied new designs" throughout Fukushima, says Masatoshi Toyota, 88 years old, once a top Tepco executive who helped oversee the building of the reactors.
All the Fukushima plants, including the newer ones, were based on GE designs. GE maintained lucrative contracts to service GE reactors in Japan and was engaged with partner Hitachi Ltd. in a global campaign to extend the lives of its aging plants.
Because Tepco's first reactor buildings were small, the generators had to go somewhere else. Engineers put them into neighboring structures that house turbines. The reactor buildings were fortress-like, with thick concrete walls and dual sets of sturdy doors. The turbine buildings were far less sturdy, especially their doors
"Backup power generators are critical safety equipment, and it should've been a no-brainer to put them inside the reactor buildings," Mr. Toyota says. "It's a huge disappointment that nobody at Tepco—including me—was sensitive enough to notice and do something about this discrepancy."
Kiyoshi Kishi, a former Tepco executive in charge of nuclear-plant engineering, says that at the time of the original design, people thought a large tsunami on Fukushima's Pacific coast was "impossible." Later Tepco adjusted some parts of the plant—but not all—to address tsunamis of up to 18.8 feet, less than half the height of the one that hit in March.
Over the ensuing years, Tepco updated the plants repeatedly, and the Japanese government tightened standards for earthquake preparedness several times. The government gave the turbine buildings that contained the generators for the older reactors a lower earthquake-preparedness rating, Class B, than the reactor buildings that housed the generators at the newer facilities, which were graded Class S.
Says Mr. Toyota, the former Tepco executive: "Over the years, a lot of engineers have come up with different ideas to improve safety. But my guess is that they couldn't come forward and point that out to management because of the high costs associated with back-fitting older reactors with new designs."
Tepco was criticized during those years for having high electricity rates, and such significant changes would have been difficult, say former company officials.
Katsuya Tomono, a former Tepco executive vice president who in the late 1990s was in charge of nuclear-plant equipment such as backup generators, says he believes that "engineers on the ground took the easy way out and used the switch yard that already existed in the turbine buildings. As far as I know, there was no debate on this matter among engineers who led the move to add backup generators."
In 2001, when the original 30-year operating permit for Fukushima Daiichi's No. 1 reactor was set to expire, Tepco applied for and received a 10-year extension. It got another one earlier this year, just five weeks before the accident. Regulators never reviewed whether the basic blueprint of the older reactors was flawed, the abbreviated minutes of government deliberations show.
All three of the generators added in the late 1990s, located in the separate hillside buildings, kept working. But they didn't do any good at reactor Nos. 1 through 4 because the meta-kura(switching station) that delivered power from the generators to the cooling systems got swamped in the lightly protected turbine buildings.
"Once water gets in there, the whole thing is kaput," said Mr. Tomono, the former Tepco executive vice president.
Mr. Kishi, the former Tepco executive in charge of nuclear-plant engineering, watched the nuclear plant he had worked on for decades go up in smoke. He says he believes the discrepancy between the older and newer reactors at Fukushima was "subtle."
But in retrospect, he says, Tepco's inconsistency in applying improved standards was the "basic flaw" that doomed Fukushima and darkened nuclear power's prospects around the world
Originally posted by Wertwog
We are the unfortunate irraidiants (yes my new word)
Originally posted by Aircooled
www.neimagazine.com... Some plans for the new closed-loop system.
A sample of unit 1 spent fuel pond water has found higher-than-normal levels of activity-it contains about 1.8 million times as much caesium 137 as before the incident. However, TEPCO concludes that the majority of the fuel in unit 1 is undamaged, and the radioactivity came from external sources, such as contaminated steam and dust.