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Investigators fault nuclear culture via the Japan Times

The failure of utilities and nuclear regulatory authorities to prepare for monster tsunami and other crises, made obvious by last year’s catastrophe at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, was the result of a Japanese institutional problem that blurred where the responsibilities lie.

That conclusion was shared by the chairmen of three independent panels probing the Fukushima crisis at a recent symposium in Tokyo organized by the Science Council of Japan.

Kiyoshi Kurokawa, who led a Diet-appointed panel, Yotaro Hatamura, who chaired a government-appointed panel, and Koichi Kitazawa, who headed a team set up by the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation that became known as the “private-sector” investigation panel, appeared at the same public event last Friday for the first time since they finished their investigations to discuss their findings and exchange views on how their respective reports can be utilized.

They said people involved in nuclear safety issues were hung up on the notion — often dubbed the “safety myth” — that Japan’s reactors were safe and could not possibly suffer a catastrophic accident, so they didn’t have to think ahead about steps to contain such crises.

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