Much has been made about the contractor system at Fukushima Daiichi, the worker abuses and cut rate construction. This only looks at one aspect of the contractor system at the plant. Tasks like tank construction have been given out to layers of subcontractors but these subcontractors only do some of the work at the plant. Much of the work falls to what are called prime contractors. These are companies like Toshiba, Hitachi-GE or Kajima. The work they do at the plant is much more significant and frequently flies under the radar.
TEPCO reports work done at the plant including some of the dangerous inspection work to attempt to gain information about the melted down reactors. TEPCO rarely says exactly who is doing this work, if they are TEPCO employees or prime contractors. Workers Happy and Sunny both worked for prime contractors at Daiichi. Both mentioned over time the nature of the projects they worked on including varioius efforts to run scopes into the reactor buildings and efforts to clean off units 3 and 4. These two workers were at the plant through the initial disaster but have reached their maximum exposure this year so they are no longer involved in the hands on work at the plant.
Greenpeace has called for “GE” to be held accountable for the flawed design of the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi. This seems to ignore the reality that “GE” is still there and largely in charge of the disaster response and profiting off of it.
This company has been a major player in the response at the plant. Hitachi-GE is frequently names as just “Hitachi” but it is the GE nuclear company as it exists today in both Japan and the US. This is the company that designed and mostly built the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi. They have also had a heavy presence in the maintenance and repair of these reactors over the decades. This list of open proposals on Hitachi-GE’s website shows the considerable extent to which they are running the response to the disaster and decommissioning efforts. Hitachi is doing everything from inspection efforts to decommissioning planning based on their requests for proposals on their website. Hitachi is also frequently branded on these efforts already underway though TEPCO declines to admit who is doing the work. Hitachi developed the SoRa robot. They were involved in the boat robot project. Hitachi admits involvement in just about every aspect of the response at Daiichi. Hitachi-GE appears to admit their involvement in the fuel removal work at Unit 4 in this detailed presentation they give at Oak Ridge.
This large international construction company installed the tent cover on unit 1 at Fukushima Daiichi. Shimizu was also involved in supplying the defective bolt together tanks for the plant, it appears much of the actual installation work was done by the networks of sub contractors. Shimizu has also been involved in the contaminated rubble removal at the plant.
Kajima is involved in the contaminated rubble removal at the plant. Kajima was involved in the construction of dorms/shelters 2km from the plant that did not meet radiation resistance standards or became contaminated after they were built. The company is tasked with constructing the ice wall to be installed at the plant. An autonomous heavy equipment system used to clean debris off of unit 3 was developed by Kajima. More on this system can be found here.
The company provided the retrofitting of the megafloat that was used to hold contaminated water early in the disaster. Mitsubishi created shielded and remote control heavy equipment to be used at the plant. They have also created some of the robots in use at the plant like the Super Giraffe.
Toshiba is building the ALPS water decontamination system. The SARRY cesium absorption system was built by Toshiba. The reactor cooling systems put together after the disaster were built by Toshiba. Toshiba also created the quadruped robot and a vacuum robot in use at the plant. The initial response work at the plant to restore electricity and repair power panels was done by Toshiba. This appears to include the power trucks and systems that have been plagued by rats. Pump restoration and air filtration systems were also done by Toshiba. Toshiba was also involved in the initial response in huge ways with hundreds of engineers and a partnership with US companies Shaw and Babcock and Wilcox. Both are major players in the US nuclear industry. The company also built radiation shelters/dorms for workers at the plant that were found to not be sufficient in their radiation resistance.
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