The accident at the Japanese Fukushima-1 NPP was caused by the human factor, not the elements. This was the conclusion made by a Japanese parliamentary commission which has just completed its investigation into the causes of the disaster.
The nuclear plant was not sufficiently protected against either strong earthquakes or tsunamis, the report says. Japanese MPs believe that the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) which had made a whole number of technical errors should be held responsible for the accident. As a result of these errors, the situation went out of control causing radiation leakage into the atmosphere and the ocean. 140,000 people were evacuated from the area within the 20km radius of the NPP.
The report also criticizes Japanese ex-Prime Minister Naoto Kan. The Commission believes that his interference with the cleaning up process resulted in a chaos in the management of the accident and orders to the staff.
Dr. Atsushi Kasai, a Japanese security expert from the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, fully agrees with the commission’s findings. The accident was indeed triggered by an earthquake and ensuing tsunami but the disaster reached enormous proportions only due to the conduct of the plant operators, Dr. Kasai said in an interview with The Voice of Russia.
The information contained in the parliamentary commission’s report runs counter to the results of TEPCO’s internal investigation. Thus, the company insists that the catastrophe at the Fukushima-1 NPP was the result of a strong earthquake which in turn caused a powerful tsunami. The waves were 15m high, which exceeded all seismologists’ expectations.
The main thing now is to draw the right conclusions from this accident, Director of the National Energy Institute Sergey Pravosudov believes.
“Engineers will devise new methods of protecting power plants from earthquakes and tsunamis but only future will tell how effective these methods are going to be. Practice makes perfect.”
The accident at Fukushima-1 has had a dramatic impact on the world’s attitude to nuclear power generation. Some countries, like Germany, for example, decided to close all their NPPs as a result. Other countries carried out stress-tests of their nuclear power units. Requirements for NPP personnel have been tightened up.
The nuke specter released by Fukushima disaster brings home the double-edged nature of the so-called clean and economical nuke energy.