Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster Case Study

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In the seven years that have elapsed since the disaster, much has been written and said about its causes.

Yet expert reports have paid little attention to the extensive testimony of Masao Yoshida, who was plant manager at the time and passed away in 2013.

Investigations were also conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the American Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and the Nuclear Energy Agency of the OECD.

These analyses chiefly focused on the impact of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami on the nuclear power plant, the way the crisis was managed by the operator and the authorities, and on the cooperation between those onsite (emergency services) and offsite (Tepco staff).

The 9.0 magnitude Tohoku earthquake triggered a 15-meter tidal wave, which hit the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant approximately 45 minutes later.

The plant’s power was knocked out and the backup generators crippled.

Calling Fukushima a “made in Japan” disaster focuses attention on the failures of a socio-technical system apparently disconnected from industry good practices and the norms of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Moreover, its extraordinary scale allows it to be filed in the same historic category as another “aberrant” accident, Chernobyl.

(A partial English translation exists, made available by the Japanese daily , but it proved to be inaccurate on several crucial points, and is highly controversial.) Given that France generates 76% of its electricity with nuclear power, the task of a complete translation should have been undertaken by a nuclear-sector operator.

None volunteered, however, no doubt asserting that all had already been said and settled.


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