Archive for the ‘TEPCO’ Category

3 former TEPCO execs to face criminal charges in nuclear crisis

August 1, 2015

3 former TEPCO execs to face criminal charges in nuclear crisisTsunehisa KatsumataFILE – In this March 30, 2011 file photo, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, right, speaks during a news conference at the company’s head office in Tokyo. A Japanese judicial committee has decided that three former utility executives should face criminal charges and stand trial for their alleged negligence in the Fukushima nuclear disaster. A document released Friday, July 31, 2015 showed the committee voted in favor of indicting Katsumata, who was chairman of TEPCO. at the time of the crisis, along with two other former executives. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, File)

TOKYO —

A Japanese judicial committee has decided that three former utility executives should face criminal charges and stand trial for their alleged negligence in the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

A document released Friday showed the committee of independent citizens voted in favor of indicting Tsunehisa Katsumata, 75, who was chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co. at the time of the crisis, along with then-vice presidents Sakae Muto, 65, and Ichiro Takekuro, 69.

The 11-member committee’s second decision supporting the indictment overrides Tokyo prosecutors’ two earlier decisions to drop the case, forcing the three men to be charged with professional negligence. It will be the first criminal case involving the utility’s officials from the nuclear disaster to be tried in court. The prosecutors had cited lack of evidence to prove they could foresee the danger of a tsunami and decided not to file charges in September 2013 and again in January this year.

The committee, in its July 17 decision, alleged that the three men neglected to take sufficient measures even though they were fully aware of the risk of a major tsunami at the Fukushima plant at least two years before the accident. It said they should be charged with professional negligence resulting in death and injury during the accident and its aftermath, including the deaths of dozens of senior citizens in a hospital during and after the lengthy evacuation. The decision also blamed the three executives for the injuries suffered by 13 defense officials and TEPCO employees during emergency operations at the plant.

The Tokyo District Court will now choose a team of lawyers to act as prosecutors to formally press charges in court. The court said no details have been decided, including the selection of a prosecution team and other steps expected to take several months before the first trial session.

Three reactors had meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, triggering massive radiation leaks that forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate.

Government and parliamentary investigative reports have said TEPCO’s lack of safety culture and weak risk management, including an underestimate of tsunami threats, led to the disaster. They also said TEPCO ignored tsunami measures amid collusion with then-regulators and lax oversight.

TEPCO has said it could have taken safety measures more proactively, but that a tsunami of the magnitude that crippled the plant could not be anticipated.

While struggling with a cleanup at the wrecked Fukushima plant that will take decades, TEPCO is hoping to restart two reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in northern Japan as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pro-business government tries to put as many reactors back on line as possible. All 48 workable reactors are currently offline for repairs or safety checks, though two in southern Japan are set to restart within weeks.

The judicial committee’s decision sustains an appeal representing more than 5,700 people from Fukushima and other parts of Japan, urging prosecutors to investigate and send the utility executives to court to determine who was responsible for the disaster. They said the TEPCO executives failed to fulfill their obligation to prevent a serious accident.

The committee said Friday that TEPCO’s Fukushima Dai-ichi had a reputation as one of nuclear plants with “least safety margin for tsunami.”

TEPCO President Naomi Hirose declined to comment because the case was still pending.

“We’ve finally come this far,” said Ruiko Muto, who heads the group that filed the complaint, said Fukushima residents hit by the disaster have long sought their criminal liability to be clarified in court. “We believe the truth of the accident will be revealed in criminal trial proceedings to bring justice.”

 

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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TV: Gov’t approves plan to ‘drain’ Fukushima nuclear waste into ocean

January 22, 2015

ENENews


TV: Gov’t approves plan to ‘drain’ Fukushima nuclear waste into ocean — Professor: Monitoring necessary to detect ‘worrisome signals’ — Expert: “It’s completely unsafe… impossible to remove 100s of radioactive materials” — 1,200 radionuclides, only 62 reduced — Fisherman: “We can’t trust Tepco” (VIDEO)

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 07:43 PM PST

Study: Fukushima plume spread worldwide, far exceeding the hundreds of miles mentioned previously — 100 Quadrillion becquerels of Cs-137 released tops Chernobyl — “Implicates radiological hazard at distances otherwise overlooked”

Posted: 21 Jan 2015 09:17 AM PST

Multiple deaths at Fukushima nuclear plants – Worker dies after plunging over 30 feet into water tank

January 20, 2015

ENENews


Multiple deaths at Fukushima nuclear plants – Worker dies after plunging over 30 feet into water tank – Another killed from severe head injury after caught in equipment – Tepco warned last week about soaring number of worker injuries

Posted: 20 Jan 2015 12:43 AM PST

TV: Hawaii coral “the worst scientists have ever seen” — Professor: “It’s like a ghost town… We would not typically see entire colonies bleached, ever” — Gov’t map of ‘maximum bleaching alert area’ in Pacific mirrors Fukushima plume model since 2011 (VIDEO)

Posted: 19 Jan 2015 08:28 AM PST

Late Fukushima manager flagged risks of big nuclear plants

September 12, 2014

TOKYO —

The late manager of Japan’s destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant questioned the safety of large nuclear facilities, documents showed on Thursday, potentially affecting the debate over the restart of the world’s biggest nuclear power station.

Masao Yoshida, who led the emergency response at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima Daiichi plant after the March 2011 nuclear disaster, told investigators five months later that facilities with six or seven reactors were difficult to operate and had inherent safety risks, according to transcripts released by the government.

His comments have implications for the debate over the world’s biggest power station, Kashiwazaki Kariwa, TEPCO’s only hope of reviving idled reactors as it faces a decades-long cleanup of Fukushima.

They also come a day after the Nuclear Regulation Authority said Kyushu Electric Power Co’s Sendai plant in southwestern Japan had met safety requirements needed to restart, the first step to reopening the industry.

“When you’re talking about demerits, most other plants have four (reactors) at one site. I’ve always disliked dense location (of nuclear reactors),” Yoshida told investigators.

Yoshida cited Kashiwazaki Kariwa, a seven-reactor site in Niigata Prefecture, also run by TEPCO. The utility has struggled to win local support to restart that plant while it embarks on the decades-long shutdown of the Fukushima facility and faces the almost-certain closure of its nearby sister plant.

Yoshida, who died of cancer last year, was seen as a national hero for his decisive action and lack of regard for his personal safety after a massive earthquake and tsunami set off nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima.

The interview was contained in a release of hundreds of pages in transcripts of interviews, including with then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan, conducted in an investigation of the handling of the disaster.

The government has been under pressure to release the transcripts.

Yoshida said there had been “chaos” at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa site after a previous earthquake in northern Japan and added that grouping numerous nuclear reactors together made it far more difficult to operate.

“I thought it wasn’t very good from a risk-diversification standpoint, but (TEPCO) had already built this (Fukushima Daiichi) and Kashiwazaki, so I had to work within that (system),” he said.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2014.

In Landmark Decision, TEPCO to Pay Victim’s Family in Fukushima Suicide Case

August 27, 2014
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Family of Hamako Watanabe, who committed suicide after fleeing Fukushima disaster, awarded $472,000 by court

Two IAEA experts examine recovery work on top of Unit 4 of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on 17 April 2013 (Photo: IAEA Imagebank)

 

A Japanese court has ordered the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to pay damages to the family of a woman who killed herself after being forced to flee the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

The court awarded the family of Hamako Watanabe 49 million yen ($472,000) in a case that could influence future outcomes of other victim lawsuits against the nuclear operator, BBCreports.

Watanabe and her husband Mikio were evacuated because of radioactive contamination in June 2011, three months after the failure of several nuclear reactors at the Fukushima power plant in the Futaba district in Japan. Their home in Kawamata town was about 40 kilometers away from the site of the meltdown, which occurred when a 9.0-magnitude undersea earthquake triggered a tsunami that flooded cooling systems at the plant, resulting in the worst nuclear disaster in Japan’s recent history.

When Watanabe, 58, was allowed to return briefly to the family home after they were moved into an apartment in Fukushima city, she doused herself in gasoline and set herself on fire.

Mikio and the couple’s three children sued TEPCO for 91 million yen in damages, on the grounds that the forced evacuation, and subsequent uncertainty about her future, caused her depression. The chicken farm where she and her husband worked also closed, BBC says.

In a statement, TEPCO apologized again to the people of Fukushima, saying it would “examine the ruling and continue to cope with the issue sincerely,” according to theGuardian.

TEPCO, which was bailed out with taxpayer funds in 2012 in the wake of the disaster, is expected to spend more than $48 billion in compensation alone, IB Times says.

“We pray that Hamako Watanabe has found peace,” the company said.

Roughly 150,000 people were evacuated after the meltdown, approximately one-third of whom remain in temporary housing. Dozens are reported to have killed themselves since the disaster. News this week revealed that Fukushima youth were found to have elevated rates of thyroid cancer.

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‘Shock’: Water underneath Fukushima reactors to be dumped in ocean — Attempts to deal with problem have ‘failed’

August 9, 2014

ENENews


‘Shock’: Water underneath Fukushima reactors to be dumped in ocean — Attempts to deal with problem have ‘failed’ — Officials: It’s better than radioactive substances just “spilling directly into the ocean” like it is now (VIDEO)

Posted: 08 Aug 2014 05:25 PM PDT

TV Host: I’m studying Fukushima every day — “They have no idea what they’re going to do… There’s no solution… It’s a nightmare” — Tens of thousands of gallons of radioactive water spill into Pacific Ocean each day — “We really need to shut down all reactors” (VIDEO)

Posted: 08 Aug 2014 09:58 AM PDT

Gov’t: Fuel melted “much deeper” into concrete at Fukushima reactor than revealed — Triple the depth of original estimate — Tepco: “Impossible for us to evaluate potential impact”

Posted: 08 Aug 2014 07:02 AM PDT

‘Increasing alarm’ at Fukushima: Thousands of tons of plutonium contaminated liquid in trenches leaking into ocean

August 8, 2014

ENENews


‘Increasing alarm’ at Fukushima: Thousands of tons of plutonium contaminated liquid in trenches leaking into ocean — ‘Biggest risk’ at plant — ‘Exceptionally difficult’ problem — ‘Constant flow’ in and out of trenches — ‘Racing to stop’ more from coming in (PHOTO)

Posted: 07 Aug 2014 08:02 PM PDT

Fukushima Meltdown Worse Than Previous Estimates: TEPCO

August 8, 2014
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Company releases new findings which show nearly all nuclear fuel melted in Reactor 3 following 2011 earthquake and tsunami

Workers at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station work among underground water storage pools on 17 April 2013. (Photo: Greg Webb / IAEA)

The meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan was more severe than previously acknowledged, owner Tokyo Electric Power Company announced Wednesday, according to reports from Japanese media.

The company released new estimates that nearly every fuel rod at Reactor 3, located at No. 1 plant, melted as a result of Japan’s March 2011 earthquake and tsunami and most likely fell to the bottom of the containment unit. The finding is far higher than the company’s previously stated estimates in which it told people that only 63 percent of the reactor’s nuclear fuel had melted. Furthermore, TEPCO’s new statement acknowledges that the fuel began melting six hours earlier than previously believed.

“It is still impossible for us to evaluate the potential impact (of the findings) on the decommissioning of the reactor,” a TEPCO official stated following the release of the findings, according to Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

But Japanese newspaper The Yomiuri Shimbun reports that the finding might further complicate the troubled decommissioning of the plant.

The paper explains:

As the core meltdown is now believed to have started earlier than was previously thought, the amount of melted nuclear fuel that passed into the containment vessel through the pressure vessel is considered to have been greater, making it technically more difficult to extract the melted fuel and dispose of it.

Official: “Unfortunately, the fuel itself is exposed” at Fukushima — Scientist: Our tests show contamination isn’t going away… reactors are leaking out into ocean…

August 7, 2014

ENENews


Official: “Unfortunately, the fuel itself is exposed” at Fukushima — Scientist: Our tests show contamination isn’t going away… reactors are leaking out into ocean… there’s still a problem — PBS: Plume of water tainted with radiation is reaching to other side of Pacific (VIDEO)

Posted: 06 Aug 2014 11:36 PM PDT

TV: “Mysterious die off of young salmon” in Pacific Northwest — “Healthy… and then they die” heading out to sea — “Far less plankton than normal… There are too many questions” — Researchers now testing for plankton and Fukushima contamination off West Coast (VIDEO)

Posted: 06 Aug 2014 11:54 AM PDT

NHK News Flash: Meltdown at Fukushima worse than thought — Most of nuclear fuel ‘melted through’ Reactor 3 and “continued down to bottom of outer containment vessel” — “Has changed their understanding of what’s happening inside” (VIDEO)

New report estimates 278 trillion Bq of plutonium released from Fukushima reactors — Over 200 times higher than amount reported by Tepco

August 6, 2014

ENENews


Alaska: “Scientists alarmed by new mystery disease” — Pacific Northwest: “Alarming changes” — “Couldn’t believe my eyes” — “Scientists really stumped… It’s kind of an alien thing” — “Gotten much, much worse… a horror show… could wreak havoc on entire ecosystems from Mexico to Alaska” (VIDEO)

Posted: 05 Aug 2014 10:12 PM PDT

New report estimates 278 trillion Bq of plutonium released from Fukushima reactors — Over 200 times higher than amount reported by Tepco — “Highly radiotoxic when incorporated into human body” as it decays

Posted: 05 Aug 2014 11:13 AM PDT


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