Learning the Lessons of Fukushima 1 Nuclear Accident

The great Japanese earthquake of March 2011 was a tragedy of unprecedented scale. It began with the primary damage of the earthquake, which was of magnitude 9 (at the top of the scale). This caused a tsunami with waves 20 to 30m and in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, the run-up height of the waves was 43.3m. The tsunami damaged the Fukushima 1 nuclear plant, resulting in a nuclear meltdown and hydrogen explosions in two reactors.

Although most damage, deaths and casualties were caused directly by the earthquake and tsunami, much media and world attention has been given to the Fukushima 1 nuclear accident. The investigations and reports by the Japanese commission on the whole event is therefore of great importance.

The event as a whole caused 15,882 deaths, with 2,668 people missing. Of these 92.4% died by drowning (tsunami), 4.4% died by crushing (earthquake collapse), 1.1% by fire and 2.1% by unknown causes.

There were no deaths caused by the nuclear accident but 321,000 people were evacuated from their homes – mostly those living up to 30km from the plant many of whom have still not returned. The full radiation clean-up will take several years. The reconstruction will take up to 10 years with costs for the damage to homes, public buildings and infrastructure estimated at £160 billion. Most of the infrastructure, however, had been reconstructed and recovered by November 2012, but housing will take longer.

With a natural disaster of such magnitude the surprising finding is that the Fukushima 1 disaster was avoidable and was caused by neglect by the plant owners and regulators. This conclusion was drawn because none of the other nuclear plants in Japan had similar failures. Indeed the newer Fukushima 2 nuclear power plant, which is located 11km south, did not reach a stage of overheating and meltdown because its design was of a higher standard.

When it started operating in 1982 Tepko, the owners of Fukushima 1, were required to upgrade their systems to meet the new higher design standards. They failed to do so and were not pressed by the regulators. In the words of the Diet Commission ‘the accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and Tepko and the lack of governance by said parties’.

In the UK we are now losing the ability to build our own plants and putting construction in the hands of foreigners such as the French company EDF with additional Chinese help. We need to rebuild this technical base, using nuclear power as part of a mixed energy provision, along with maintaining strong regulating bodies, which have been shown to be so important in the Fukushima 1 disaster.

 

 

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Azov battalion surrender at the Azovstal steelworks; a symbolic defeat for Ukraine. US, UK & some EU governments still want to fight the war to the last Ukrainian; they continue warmongering and sending weaponry to Ukraine.
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#Russia says it has no problem with #Sweden or #Finland, hence no problem with it joining #NATO. It will however monitor its deployment of troops and weaponry, and take action appropriate to the threats.
As in Britain it's up to the people to say #No2NATO.
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Protests outside the offices of the #NewYorkTimes against coverage of the murder of #ShireenAbuAqleh, by Israelis military, #IDF. The #BBC also reported "violence breaks out at funeral", even though video clearly shows Israelis police attacked mourners.
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In a statement to MPs in late April Ben Wallace Secretary of State for Defence said "gifts of weapons by Britain could eventually total £500m" to Ukraine, as he gloried in the reported of the deaths of 15,000 Russian soldiers. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/apr/25/uk-military-aid-to-ukraine-could-rise-to-500m-mps-told#:~:text=In%20a%20statement%20to%20MPs%2C%20Ben%20Wallace%20said%20gifts%20of%20weapons%20by%20Britain%20could%20eventually%20total%20%C2%A3500m%2C%20and%20he%20said%2015%2C000%20Russian%20soldiers%20had%20died%20since%20the%20invasion%20began%20on%2024%20February.&text=%E2%80%9CWe%20have%20gifted%20in%20aid%20%C2%A3200m%20which%20we%20propose%20will%20grow%20to%20%C2%A3500m%20to%20Ukraine%2C%E2%80%9D%20Wallace%20told%20the%20House%20of%20Commons.

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