Ex-TEPCO Bosses to be Indicted for Negligence in Fukushima Meltdowns via Voice of America

Japan’s first criminal charges in connection with the meltdown of nuclear reactors in 2011 will be filed imminently, a lawyer in charge of the case told reporters Friday.

Indictments against three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) are expected Monday in Tokyo District Court. The trio is alleged to have failed to take measures to prevent the tsunami-triggered crisis at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant.

“The victims of TEPCO’s man-made nuclear disaster have been demanding transparency, have been demanding disclosure and unfortunately they’ve been given neither by the utility. So this is a big step down the road of justice for the Fukushima victims,” said Kendra Ulrich, senior global energy campaigner for the Greenpeace environmental organization, reacting to the news of the impending indictments.


Thousands of workers are dedicated to keeping under control the crippled Fukushima plant’s six reactors, four of which either melted down or were severely damaged.

Despite objections of environmentalists, TEPCO has dumped hundreds of tons of groundwater from below the plant into the Pacific Ocean. It is a tiny portion of the 850 tons of groundwater pumped to the surface daily to undergo treatment before being placed in storage.

Nearly 700,000 tons of water used to cool the reactors during the meltdowns are also stored on site.

The U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency has called the decontamination effort commendable but driven by unrealistic targets.

Nine million cubic meters of radioactive waste, much of it soil, are stored unsheltered in black bags throughout Fukushima prefecture. The bags, scattered at 115,000 locations across Fukushima, are supposed to be moved to yet-to-be built interim facilities, encompassing 16 square kilometers, in two towns close to the crippled nuclear plant.

Authorities say the temporary storage sites are to hold the contaminated material for no more than 30 years before it is processed in a different prefecture.

More than 18,000 people are confirmed to have died or are still listed as missing from the 2011 quake and subsequent tsunami. There were no deaths due to radiation from the meltdown of the reactors, but more than 1,000 fatalities have subsequently been attributed to the mandatory evacuation.

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