Solamon Energy SourcesJapan had missteps in radiation problem
Japan’s current administration is reportedly preparedto restart nuclear reactors to support themassive energy expenditure of the nation evenamidst massive public protests. And according to anew government-supported study regarding theFukushima crisis, the “myth of nuclear safety” couldbe playing a part in this.The 450-page study was compiled by various expertsfrom the field of engineering, law, media and a groupof scholars. It said the officials were not trained wellenough to handle the crisis following the reactors’meltdown last year.
“The fundamental problem lies in the fact thatutilities, including TEPCO and the government, havefailed to see the danger as reality as they were boundby a myth of nuclear safety and the notion thatsevere accidents do not happen at nuclear plants inour country,” the report said.The report is the latest made into the worse nucleardisaster in modern times that happened after anunprecedented tsunami on March 2011 hit theFukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.Also according to the report, TEPCO and NISA(Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency were bothunprepared to cope with severe accidents andweather conditions, and that the government itselfhas messed up the evacuation.
“Both the government and companies should establish a newphilosophy of disaster prevention that requires safety and disastermeasures against any massive accident and disaster … regardlessof event probability,” according to the report.The report also noted that even though NISA is under theeconomic ministry of the country, it was a “toothless entity” whichcould not come up to the public’s expectations. Now, thegovernment is apparently trying to overhaul the agency in anattempt to make it more effective and independent.A notable incident was when the workers at the Fukushima No. 1nuclear power plant were instructed to cover their dosimeterswith lead plates in order to cheat radiation measurements andcontinue working even under hazardous conditions. There weresome of the employees who questioned their safety and refusedto comply but a senior official of the TEPCO’s subcontractorresponsible for the work has threatened that they would lose anychance of employment if they don’t follow.
The dosimeter is pocket-sized device usedto measure a person’s exposure toradiation and will give an alarm once itdetects a high level. For instance, anindividual who has been measure to beexposed to have an accumulated dose of 50millisieverts in one year will be required tostop working and keep away from the high-radiation area for a specific amount of time.On December 1, the foreman has allegedlydirected his team to cover their dosimeterswith lead plates but when three of theemployees have refused to comply, he helda meeting with them the next day.
“Everybody who works for nuclear plants knowthat the limit is 50 millisieverts per year. If youget exposed to a lot of radiation, you will reachthat limit in less than a year. It could run out inthree or four months. You can’t live by nuclearplants around the year unless you take care ofyour own radiation doses. You simply can’t go and work somewhere elsewhen you are not allowed to work for nuclearplants. You can no longer make a living whenthe dose runs out. Do you understand that? The50 millisieverts just keeps running out,” said theforeman on the recording.