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Japan’s Unsatisfying Nuclear Report via Bloomberg

Yet for all its detail and willingness to label the Fukushima disaster as “profoundly manmade,” the report does not identify which men (and this being Japan, there probably weren’t many women) failed. Instead, it sweepingly indicts “the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture,” effectively letting individual culprits off the hook. Its conclusions and recommendations avoid any discussion of prosecution or punishment.

Still, the report helps guide the way forward. A crucial finding is that the earthquake prior to the tsunami may have incapacitated one of the reactors and its safety equipment — a possibility that Tepco had resolutely denied. Moreover, the commission found that Tepco had not upgraded that reactor’s seismic defenses as required by Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, that the agency failed to enforce that upgrade and that the recorded seismic motion at Fukushima actually exceeded even the level that the standards were meant to protect against.

These findings suggest that Japan’s decision to restart some of its reactors — the first, in Ohi on Japan’s west coast, resumed operation a week ago — is premature. The Ohi reactor passed the stress test required in the aftermath of Fukushima, but that is no guarantee it could withstand an earthquake of the same 9.0 magnitude. One of the country’s most vocal seismic whistle-blowers, Katsuhiko Ishibashi, who foretold the potential for the disastrous 1995 Kobe earthquake as well as a Fukushima- like event, has warned that the government is underestimating the restarted plant’s vulnerability.

Read the entire article at Japan’s Unsatisfying Nuclear Report

♢ related articles:

• The Fukushima report hides behind the cultural curtain via The Guardian

•【video】 As Japan Says Fukushima Disaster “Man-Made” & “Preventable,” Fears Grow for Nuclear Plants Worldwide via Democracy Now!

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