Some workers talked to LeMonde about current conditions at the plant. They talked about isolation, low pay and bad working conditions. Workers said many workers lack any training and are not even familiar with tools being used. Equipment given to the workers is frequently old as contractors do not want to waste money on equipment that will be abandoned at the plant due to contamination. TEPCO’s president admitted this week that workers are overworked, doing long shifts and that the plant is understaffed. Workers said many do not want to work at Fukushima. The low pay and the current cultural stigma about working for the nuclear industry adds to the dropping numbers. They also cited the build up to the Olympics in Tokyo as drawing away potential workers for the plant.
Citizens in Tokyo took radiation readings around various locations where the Olympics will be held. They did find some significant levels of contamination at a number of Olympic event sites. The government immediately completely dismissed the contamination as if it didn’t exist. This seems to be the official government policy on the concern for the safety of Olympic guests.
One bright spot of common sense has been Japan’s NRA. This week NRA head Shunichi Tanaka stated that the inspections for potential restart of the reactors at Kashiwazaki Kariwa will be delayed until TEPCO’s competency and ability to deal with the mess at Fukushima Daiichi changes. The NRA had already instructed TEPCO to submit a report showing how they are improving things at Fukushima Daiichi. Now the NRA is openly saying they intend to back burner the Kashiwazaki Kariwa inspection. As the restarts of these reactors were a key part of TEPCO’s rehabilitation plan by the government, this could impact TEPCO’s stock price and banks willingness to lend to TEPCO. There is more talk in Japan about letting TEPCO die or splitting it up into two companies.
SimplyInfo.org member and research associate professor at the Hiroshima Peace Institute, Robert Jacobs spoke to RT and ABC Australia about the huge challenges ahead for Japan. He explains the huge ongoing risks with the plant situation remaining unsolved and the “new normal” for people living in Japan.
The biggest challenges remain unsolved or simply ignored by the government. This is beginning to cause a major state of paralysis. Evacuees can’t go home and can’t obtain relocation assistance to start over. Challenges at the plant remain unsolved. Japan made a call for international help. This may elicit some useful problem solving tactics to try to deal with the triple meltdowns and ensuing mess created by TEPCO. No country possesses a proven solution to these challenges. This reality has not sunk into the minds of government leadership or the public at large around the world. The disaster is unprecedented and can not be ignored.
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