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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Effing TEPCO

Y'know… I tried to be nice to TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Co.), as it seemed like they were attempting to make nice-nice and make sure things were safe for the people of Japan (and the world)… but then out comes a report I saw in the Asahi Shimbun (Asahi Newspaper) that says that although TEPCO has decided to halt tests on a new decontamination system after finding a leak in a water cooling tank… TEPCO actually found out about the dangers involved weeks earlier and decided to withhold that information from the public.

Fool me once - shame on me. Fool me twice - shame on you. Fool me 47 times - what the hell are you still doing here, you effing liar?

Welcome to Fukushima-ken and to the Dai-ichi nuclear power plant that, until March 11, 2011, was an electricity generating facility in Japan.

March 11, 2011, was the day a catastrophic 9.0 Magnitude earthquake spawned a super-high and powerful tsunami that washed over much of the northwest coastal areas of Japan, including onto the Dai-ichi facility taking out the power and cooling equipment at the facility - almost causing multiple nuclear meltdowns over the ensuing weeks.

However, it still caused massive amounts of radiation to escape into the water, air and ground in the surrounding areas and devastated the Japanese economy and making Japan a pariah for visitors and would-be trading partners who were afraid they might become irradiated or be consuming or using contaminated goods.

The failure of this plant's safety systems basically led to checks on every single nuclear power generating facility in Japan, which ultimately led to almost all of them being taken off-line at one point in time or another, as numerous problems were discovered elsewhere.

That's a good thing.

As well, Japan's populace and most of the government officials at least seem wary of the country's nuclear power generating programs - and other forms of power generation are getting more than a casual look to replace it. 

So… although the disaster regarding the nuclear plant was NOT the fault of TEPCO, the ensuing debacle regarding its response to quell the situation and to provide aid to displaced people has been sadly lacking.

In fact… as time goes on, with every crisis, the company becomes more and more gun-shy… taking its time to measure each word it offers to the media and public, that rather than provide timely data, it has become the small child scared of its own shadow.

Here's the latest story from the Asahi Shimbun:

After finding tritium levels higher than the safety standard in well water at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. withheld the information from the public for nearly three weeks.
The company on June 19 disclosed that 500,000 becquerels of tritium per liter of water, eight times the legal limit, were detected. It also said that 1,000 becquerels of strontium, 30 times the legal limit, were detected.
TEPCO began taking water samples from the well on the sea side of the turbine buildings for the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors on May 24.
Analysis results about tritium were conveyed to plant officials on May 31 and shared within the company on June 14.
A TEPCO official said the announcement was not made until June 19 because additional analyses were carried out as there had been problems in past measurements.
The official also said the company waited until June 18 to see analysis results about strontium, which were due that day.
But on June 14 the utility already began considering measures to prevent water from flowing into the sea under the ground.
The well, 27 meters from the sea, is close to a water intake system of the No. 2 reactor, an area from which highly radioactive water leaked into the sea in April 2011.
TEPCO suspects that the contaminated water spread underground at the time and later flowed into the well, one of the three it dug in November and December.
The company plans to dig four wells nearby to investigate the situation and also inject an agent into the ground along the coast to prevent contaminated water leaking into the sea.
The discovery of high levels of strontium and tritium is expected to delay TEPCO’s plan to pump groundwater at the plant and release it into the sea to slow an increase in radioactive water.
Kazunori Endo, of the Soma-Futaba fisheries cooperative in Fukushima Prefecture, said he was exasperated with the series of problems of contaminated water at the plant.
Members of his cooperative are opposed to the plan to dump groundwater into the sea, although TEPCO said the water contains lower levels of radioactivity than nearby rivers.
The opposition grew after June 3 when TEPCO said that radioactivity levels in the water were higher than initially reported due to a mistake in measurements.
“The problem is that (scandals) crop up one after another,” Endo said. He added that TEPCO must solve the latest problem before trying to release groundwater into the sea.
Members of his cooperative have been preparing to resume full-scale operations along the prefectural coast following the March 2011 nuclear disaster.
Akio Komori, a TEPCO managing executive officer, visited the Fukushima prefectural government office on June 19 to apologize for the high levels of strontium and tritium.
Tetsuya Hasegawa, head of the living environment department, asked Komori to identify the cause of high radioactivity levels, investigate the environmental impact and prevent the spread of contaminated water.
“It was regrettable that (radioactive water was found) at a time when we are calling for all possible measures,” he said.
Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato told senior prefectural officials on June 19 to enhance monitoring of any effects of radioactivity in the ocean.
“We have repeatedly told TEPCO to take thorough precautions against contaminated water,” Sato said. “(The latest discovery) was regrettable."


Okay… that's all… I'm unsure what disturbs me more… TEPCO or the translated Japanese word that seems to mean 'regrettable' in English.

TEPCO… pull your contaminated socks up, pull your underwear up… your trousers, too and stop screwing the dog.

Is it not time to remove TEPCO from its clean-up role and have a third-party take over (to be paid for by TEPCO) to do the job properly?

Of course, TEPCO will have no say in who gets hired to do the clean-up. A global nuclear regulatory commission might be able to become involved in that process.

Part of the problem in biding on such a job, is that bidders would have to rely on information provided to them by TEPCO - which, as we have seen, is hardly a bastion of timely information.

Cheers,
Andre Joseph

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