TEPCO has admitted that they failed to officially notify the government of the meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi and that they knew by at least March 14th of 2011. The official required notification would have made denying the meltdowns impossible. It took TEPCO until May of 2011 to even admit publicly there was any meltdown at all and years before they began to admit the true extent of the damage.
Information that came out in the Diet and other investigations showed that both TEPCO and the Japanese government knew the severity of the disaster at the plant at the time it was happening. Prime Minister Kan had discussions about the potential for cascading massive nuclear failures down the Japanese coast if Fukushima Daiichi spiraled so far out of control that workers would need to abandon the plant. This would have resulted in the need to evacuate Tokyo and most of western Honshu.
On March 12, 2011 Koichiro Nakamura, an official at NISA admitted that meltdowns “may be taking place” and was abruptly removed from his public PR position. TEPCO and the Japanese government publicly denied meltdowns even as they clearly knew that was the case. TEPCO has also been caught in convenient phrasing for other major events at Fukushima Daiichi. They tried to characterize the explosion of unit 4 as a fire. The massive hydrogen explosion at unit 3 was called a fire or an “event” when speaking to the press.
TEPCO’s claim for why they lied to the public and only now are admitting to the cover up was that their executives didn’t know a disaster management manual existed. That manual outlined what amount of core damage would be considered a meltdown. Without the manual TEPCO’s executives clearly understood that meltdowns were underway. They also showed they knew serious events at the plant needed to be reported to NISA in a timely manner as they repeatedly did when emergency systems were lost at each reactor.
image credit | examiner.com
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