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Saturday, December 15, 2012

TEPCO Says: D'uh... what's nuke-lear safe-duhhhh-tee?

If I told you that Liberace was gay or that Miss Universe Japan Haya Ayako (surname first) was hot, you would say: "D'uhhhh!"

Well, imagine my surprise when TEPCO (the Tokyo Electric Power COmpany) admitted that its poor safety culture was the root cause of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, for which there is still fallout over... no, not radiation, but angst and disgust.

Yes, on Friday, December 14, 2012 about 19 months after the crap hit the fan, TEPCO decided the world needed to know it was at fault, being unprepared for the severe nuclear accidents, as it tries to dig deeper into the root cause of the Fukushima crisis rather than just blaming the larger-than-expected tsunami for triggering the catastrophe.

First off, good for TEPCO. Too often large business and smaller people often try to shift blame away from themselves and blame other circumstances for their own screw-ups.

Liberace says: Nuclear safety is a must!
That doesn't mean everyone should forgive TEPCO, of course.

But... instead of just throwing money at the problem - here, we screwed up, have some money now go away while we try and figure to contain a runaway nuclear furnace or three - they have finally come to grips with their own mortality... which is too late considering the mortality rate of the Japanese nuclear industry.

At least the Dai-ichi plants weren't built atop a seismic fault - whose fault would that be? See HERE.

Based on its revised understanding, the utility known as TEPCO unveiled the outline of a plan to revamp its oft-criticized nuclear division, including an idea to set up a regulatory organization that is inside the company but independent of the division in issuing orders for safety measures.

Ahhhh... a watchdog department.

The outline was compiled with the involvement of a supervisory panel consisting of domestic and overseas experts, including former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman Dale Klein and former British Atomic Energy Authority chairman Barbara Judge.

That doesn't mean these people are involved in the watching, only that they have recommended a more independent group needs to be set up within TEPCO. But... who would the committee answer too?

In a culture whereby the boss is the boss, and the good of the company trumps all, I am unsure if Japan's TEPCO will be able to pull it off.

Who watches the watchmen?

Cheers,
Andrew Joseph

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