TEPCO Emergency Video Release, Translations & Analysis

Below are our notes & comments on the information coming out of the minor release of video from TEPCO. The video and all the quotes and times found in media reports are included. These comments and times help give context to what is going on.

TEPCO claims that out of 4 of their sites in the teleconference none captured audio except for Daini that only captured small segments of audio. TEPCO’s excuse are in one interview lack of hard drive space and in another interview they tell the media it was because nobody remembered to also record the audio and only recorded the video. Most modern teleconference systems record the audio and video as one file that would require actually stripping out the audio files. Recording on such a system would entail selecting to record, not recording the audio and video separately. An AV expert interviewed by Yomiuri questioned some of the editing tactics.  There are also segments of video where audio goes in and out but the video is a continuous unedited section. This does not work with TEPCO’s pair of excuses.

TEPCO appears to have considered evacuating Fukushima Daiichi staff from the plant at one point. A series of exchanges noted below in the quotes show this was discussed along with the procedure that should be used, if it was going to happen and a conversation between TEPCO and government officials over the phone outside the view of the video. There was a specific quote where TEPCO officials talked about moving staff to Daini. Yet there was also portions of these conversations that talked of only moving staff in the reactor control rooms. This could have meant just moving them from the control rooms to the quake proof building on site. The context of removing people from Daiichi came after conditions at the plant continued to worsen but the portions that have audio do not talk in absolute terms about numbers of workers or or if the entire plant would be abandoned. The conversations with Kan and Edano had they been recorded may have been able to give more context to what was the real consideration for action. Komori does state they need criteria for a pullout of both the control rooms and the plant as quoted below. There is also this quote: At what time will all the workers be evacuating from the site?” Akio Takahashi (TEPCO executive). Takahashi also says in quite clear terms if the media translation is correct that he was assuming an entire evacuation of workers. “Can someone at headquarters confirm that we are evacuating everyone at Fukushima No. 1 to the visitor hall at Fukushima No. 2?” Was he wrong in his understanding or the one telling the truth? Takahashi is quoted twice saying this.

From the discussions on the tape it is quite clear TEPCO knew the reactors were in meltdown. They discuss times for fuel to be completely uncovered at unit 2 on the evening of the 14th. Were these details conveyed to Kan and other officials in the Japanese government? That is not totally clear as they are not in the video discussions. In May 2011 TEPCO finally admits there were meltdowns and that they began16 hours after the quake. There are repeated discussions of venting at unit 2, it is not clear if these refer to venting the reactor vessel to the torus or attempts to vent the hardened vent system to the atmosphere via the vent stack.

WSJ reports a series of exchanges where TEPCO and Daiichi staff were trying to figure out how to relieve hydrogen at unit 2. All the while the blow out panel on unit 2 had been out since March 13 yet nobody knew this. Daiichi staff possibly had not been on that side to see. The plant was likely without security cameras due to no AC power. No outside media reported it. We found it on a March 13 digital globe satellite image. So the entire exchange potentially wasted time and had no fundamental purpose in improving the response. WSJ’s claim that unit 1’s blast knocked out the panel is possibly incorrect as the position of unit 1 to unit 2’s side with the panel makes that less likely due to the angle. An alternative explanation could be that Yoshida knew about the blow out panel but was worried enough hydrogen could be captured under the roof that a top hole was needed.

There is a discussion about a radiation reading at the plant of 3.2 millisieverts between Yoshida and TEPCO. From the quote found it isn’t clear if this is at the front gate, in the quake proof building or closer to the reactors. Yoshida makes the comment they have seen levels like that at the plant many times before. There isn’t context if he meant at the exact same location or something else like there were localized readings that high during certain work. Moving waste and some other routine work at a plant can cause a reading that high but only in the localized area of the work, not far away such as at the front gate.

On two different occasions TEPCO executives admit a lack of knowing procedures of having a manual. One states evacuation procedures are “not in his head” and another that he doesn’t remember the guidelines for evacuation. Was there any discussion of finding a copy of the manual to consult? This was March 14 where these two comments were made. Common sense would assume someone should have found a copy of the relevant emergency manuals for the decision makers in TEPCO’s corporate office days into the disaster.

There were also instances of TEPCO officials discussing giving incorrect or fabricated information to the public. In one instance an executive trying to decide what to tell the public about unit 3’s explosion. TEPCO executives discuss that they don’t know if it was a hydrogen explosion or not but decide to say it was since a NISA official had recently made that comment and that they should “toe the line”. TEPCO executive Akio Takahashi later asks workers to fabricate data for him and wants to tell officials from Okuma city they are taking measures to prevent gas from leaking at unit 3 where no measures to do this existed. Details and full quotes in the quotes section below. If TEPCO was so casual about making up data and did this on tape what other data has been fabricated? There has long been speculation that TEPCO was manipulating or faking data, this comment adds something concrete to that speculation. Chairman Katsumata is on tape saying he will deny there was a hydrogen explosion if asked by the media and tell them it isn’t possible, this while TEPCO is debating if people should be evacuated

While some of this obviously lacks full context due to the heavy editing and only a small portion of the 150 hours has been released to the public, the bits that are there show some very disturbing things.

Who was where:

Video screens, we have determined by visuals and text on the screens the video locations. These locations change throughout the video but are identifiable by the background of the room.

March 11

No video made? TEPCO claimed there was no recording of the early hours of the disaster from any source.

March 12

After the March 12 explosion at Unit 1, dozens of workers were highly exposed, but TEPCO officials debated how they could allow extra exposures without getting in trouble. One anonymous official suggested “they can go home and take a bath and open their pores” to wash off contamination. He said they could get health checks when whole body counters become available later, while another official suggested they should abide by the rule. – CBS

After the March 12 explosion at Unit 1, dozens of workers were highly exposed to radiation, and the videos reveal TEPCO officials debated how they could allow extra exposures without getting in trouble. “They can go home and take a bath and open their pores” to wash off contamination, one official suggests. Days later, the government raised the maximum exposure levels to more than double the usual limit for emergency operation. – AP

On 12 Complained in March around 23:00 clock is Takekuro Ichiro, who had been sent by TEPCO as a liaison to the office of then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the
tone of the government: he was very often become very angry and yelled at him was harsh. – SpreadNews

In the footage, Takekuro said at around 11 p.m. on March 12, 2011,He (Kan) got really mad very often. You name it. When I gave him a briefing, he told me, ‘On what grounds? Can you say things will be alright that way even if something happens?He was harshly screaming at me.” The footage confirms that discord emerged between the Prime Minister’s Office and TEPCO immediately after the outbreak of the nuclear crisis. – Mainichi

March 13 

On 13 March 2011 at 19:00 clock suggests a telephone conversation between the TEPCO President Tsunehisa Katsumata and liaison Takekuro the assumption that
the chairman of a hydrogen explosion had not anticipated. In this Katsumata said: “It looks like we might be able to open the vent at number 3. I think the
PROBLEM of hydrogen is very low. “SpreadNews

The footage also shows a scene that suggests that then TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata may not have predicted a hydrogen explosion at the No. 3 reactor at all. In a telephone conversation with Takekuro at around 7 p.m. on March 13, 2011, Katsumata said, “It looks like we may be able to open the vent at the No. 3 (reactor). I think that the problem of hydrogen is very small.” In the end, a hydrogen explosion ripped through the No. 3 reactor at around 11 a.m. on March 14, 2011. – Mainichi

March 14  

Soon after 11 a.m. on March 14, 2011, the loudspeakers crackled in the crisis command center of Tokyo Electric Power Co.: “Headquarters, headquarters,” came the voice of Masao Yoshida, then-manager of Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant, where one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents was unfolding. “We have a big problem, we have a big problem. It seems there has been an explosion at Unit 3.” Pandemonium ensued. – WSJ

The footage also showed another heated exchange involving Tepco workers. Soon after reactor 3 was rocked by a hydrogen explosion at around 11 a.m. on March 14, Masao Yoshida, then chief of the plant, hurriedly called Tepco headquarters. “It’s probably reactor 3, and it has just exploded!” Yoshida said. The report caused a big stir at the plant and Tepco HQ, as the voices of confused workers can be more loudly heard in the footage. Some yelled “Check the parameters of reactor 3!” while others called around to check if everyone was OK. – Japan Times

Hydrogen explosion at reactor No. 3 (approximate timecode: 7:00 – 8:00) March 14, 2011, around 11 a.mThis clip records the moment Mr. Yoshida, the Fukushima Daiichi plant manager, tells Tepco headquarters about the explosion at reactor No. 3. “Headquarters, headquarters,” he yells into the microphone. “We have a big problem, we have a big problem. It seems there’s been an explosion at Unit 3!” “OK, we’ll make an emergency report,” says a voice from Tepco headquarters, while Mr. Yoshida gives the time — 11:01 — his voice cracking. From the Tepco head office an executive asks whether it’s the same kind of thing as happened two days earlier, when a hydrogen explosion destroyed the reactor building at Unit 1, in the first external sign that the plant was spinning out of control. Yes, Mr. Yoshida answers, “It’s hard to tell from the command center, but it was clearly different from an earthquake.” Tepco managing director Akio Komori can be heard from the head office saying, “Evacuate the workers from the site.” Then-president Masataka Shimizu also weighs in with “Report it to the relevant authorities immediately!” In the background, people at Fukushima Daiichi are shouting over each other, asking for and reporting readings from Unit 3. Mr. Komori repeats, “Report it to the prime minister’s office and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency!” – WSJ
Around 11 a.m. on March 14*, Yoshida screamed to officials at Tokyo headquarters: “The headquarters! This is serious, this is serious. The No. 3 unit. I think this is hydrogen explosion. We just had an explosion.” In the video’s background, other officials shout questions, asking for radiation levels and other data. – CBS

The emergency command center at Japan’s stricken nuclear plant shook violently when hydrogen exploded at one reactor and the plant chief reacted by shouting “This is serious, this is serious,”  – CBS

I can’t see anything from here because of heavy smoke,” Yoshida said after the explosion. Even though workers struggled to assess the situation, they fell behind media reports. A voice from an off-site emergency center is heard, a man saying he saw explosion on television news. – CBS

As workers struggled to assess the situation, they fell behind media reports. A voice from an off-site emergency center says he saw the explosion on television news. – AP

Just after the Unit 3 explosion, plant officials and TEPCO executives discussed extensively whether to call it a hydrogen explosion. – AP 

This detailed translation of the exchange between Yoshida and TEPCO’s offices was translated by EX-SKF, times in parenthesis are times on the video:
(at 0:05 -) About the dose level, it is 39.406 microcurie/hour.
(at 0:20, the upper right screen for 1F (Fukushima I Nuke Plant) shakes.)
(at 0.58 -) HQ?: Well, right now, 3-meter tsunami warning issued for Hamadori [coastal Fukushima], can you hear us, 1F? 3-meter tsunami warning has been just issued for Hamadori. Please pay attention.
(at 1:13 – ) Plant Manager Yoshida at 1F: HQ! HQ! 
HQ: Yes, this is HQ.
Yoshida: HQ! HQ! It’s bad! It’s bad!
HQ: Yes!? Yes?
Yoshida: Reactor 3, probably steam explosion, it just happened!
HQ: (in a weak, almost disappearing voice) Alright... (someone else) O..OK.. Emergency communication
Yoshida: (overlapping the HQ person) Happened at 11:01AM.
HQ: 11:01AM. (totally unexcited,) Roger. We will make emergency communication...
Yoshida: OK!
HQ: That, that is the same as Reactor 1 [explosion], isn’t it?
Yoshida: Yes, in the building, inside the Anti-Seismic Building here, we can’t tell, but a side-way shake, clearly different from an earthquake, came, and there was no after-shake like in an earthquake. So I think this is an explosion, just like what happened in Reactor 1.
HQ: OK. Roger.
In Yoshida’s background at 1F: Parameters! Somebody look at the parameters of Reactor 3! Call the central control room for Reactor 3 and find out!
Yoshida: And the workers on the scene, will take shelter, take shelter!
HQ(?): We’ll notify people immediately. Emergency communication...
(From 2:17 to 2:25, yelling and shouting in the background, probably at 1F. Someone at the Off-Site Center – upper left screen – sits with folded arms.)
Yoshida: Well, NISA [Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency] and Prime Minister’s Office…
In Yoshida’s background: The environment inside this room [the emergency response headquarters on the 2nd floor of the Anti-Seismic Building at Fukushima I], no change in gamma rays and neutrons. Report over.
Yoshida: … keep them connected, real-time.
Yoshida’s background: Hey! (beep)
(2:40, someone is heard making a speech. It sounds like Yukio Edano, then-Chief Cabinet Secretary and the administration spokesman) “… causing troubles for you. However, the actual power suppl...” (cut off)
(2:57) (HQ? 1F?): To Mr. Takeguro…., directly… [Takeguro, TEPCO’s representative at PM Official Residence]
(3:10 Voice that sounds like Mr. Edano comes back) “…as you prepare, to minimize your inconvenience...”
(3:21) HQ (Probably Mr. Komori?, executive director, making a phone call to NISA): At 11:02AM, (was that 11:02?), at 11:02, in Reactor 3, there was a possibility of hydrogen explosion, we’ve been just informed by the plant. It’s the first report…
At 1F (Yoshida, overlapping Komori): Please take shelter, make sure everyone is safe, take shelter. Then, measure the dose rate carefully and report. Now, everyone, please gather closer, and make sure everyone is OK.
(4:06) Yoshida: And there’s also a tsunami warning. As a precaution, please withdraw [to shelter] as soon as possible.
(4:18) (Beep)
(4:20) At 1F: Uh… as soon as you confirm, to the [worker] welfare unit, please report to the welfare unit once people take shelter. Please report to the welfare unit.
(4:33) HQ (TEPCO’s then-president Shimizu): This is Shimizu, head of the [HQ Response team]. Inform the related parties and report back right away… 

At 12:30 clock to plant manager Masao Yoshida announced at the company’s management in Tokyo. Previously, it was around 11:00 clock came to a hydrogen explosion at the Fukushima reactor 3. It told Yoshida, “The radiation dose reached its limit. I want to make sure “. President Shimizu said Yoshida then beschwichtigendem tone: “Please try it on in one way or another!”  Around 13:00 clock on the same day, the plant manager, the leadership in Tokyo, measures asked for meetings to produce hydrogen from reactor 2 release: “I want them to think about ways you can quickly open open into the reactor building – with a helicopter or whatever. ” – SpreadNews

In a teleconference soon after 12:30 p.m. on March 14, 2011, Yoshida told TEPCO headquarters, “Exposure doses are reaching their limits. I want you to pay attention to that!” Then TEPCO President Masataka Shimizu told Yoshida in a conciliatory tone, “Please keep trying in one way or another!” – Mainichi 

The footage also recorded a scene in which Yoshida got so frustrated by the failure to cool down the nuclear reactors and stop their meltdown. At around 1 p.m. on March 14, 2011, Yoshida asked TEPCO headquarters to take steps to release hydrogen into the atmosphere from the No. 2 reactor, saying, “I want you to think of ways to open a hole (in the reactor building) immediately by using helicopters or whatever.”  – Mainichi

The footage documents how Tepco executives scrambled at times to make sense of what was going on. In an exchange following the March 14 explosion at  Unit 3, executives at Tokyo headquarters struggled with the wording of a news release on what happened. “We don’t know if it’s a hydrogen explosion,” said one executive, who then added that government regulator Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency “said it’s a hydrogen explosion on TV.  We ‘d better toe the line.” “What do you think?” asked another executive. Then-President Masataka Shimizu said: “That’s fine. Speed matters most.’‘- WSJ

In the early afternoon of March 14, Mr. Yoshida told headquarters, “I’d like to report that employees are in a state of shock after not being able to prevent the two explosions. We are feeling down, all of us. We do what we can, but morale is hurt pretty badly.” – WSJ

One executive at headquarters told Mr. Yoshida that the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata had offered to send 10 people. immediately. “We appreciate that people are working in such difficult circumstances,” Mr. Shimizu added. “Hang in there for the moment.”  – WSJ

Confusion over injecting water at reactor No. 2 (approximate timecode: 16:45-18:30) March 14, 2011, around 5 p.mThis clip documents the confusion on the ground as Mr. Yoshida and the Fukushima Daiichi crew tried to head off a meltdown at reactor 2, which was dangerously overheating. By this time, the prime minister’s office as well as a range of experts and Tepco officials were weighing in on what to do — interventions later blamed for confusing and slowing down response on the ground. Haruki Madarame, head of the Nuclear Safety Commission, has been calling for more water to be injected into the reactor before venting some of the pressure that’s built up in the reactor. The workers at Fukushima Daiichi have been struggling with vent lines. Mr. Yoshida is juggling competing demands and trying to get clear directions, under tremendous time pressure. Impatient with one explanation from an expert at Fukushima Daiichi on a technical issue, Mr. Yoshida snaps, “We don’t have time.” He rattles of a list of names from the prime minister’s office to Mr. Madarame and says they “want (the vent line set up) right away. I’m asking if that’s OK.” Mr. Yoshida then tells one of his subordinates, “We can start (water injection) as soon as the vent line is established. How’s the situation?” The worker replies: “We are working on that.” Mr. Yoshida: “What?” Worker: “It’s not hooked up yet. Please wait a second.” Mr. Yoshida: “What do you mean ‘Wait a second?’ I told you, put aside other things — checking the situation, and so forth.” Another official at the off-site center: “Is my understanding correct that we’re focusing on establishing the vent line?” An official at Tepco headquarters: “Are we sticking to the current plan? Can we tell that to Mr. Madarame?” Mr. Yoshida: “Yes. Head office, I’d like you to please follow up with that. I don’t have time to explain.” – WSJ

The footage also showed Tepco Managing Director Akio Komori, one of the key executives involved in handling the crisis, urging others to decide the conditions for withdrawing the workers after the utility surmised that the fuel rods in reactor 2 were fully exposed at 6:22 p.m. on March 14. – Japan Times

Tepco executives discuss possibility of evacuating the plant (approximate timecode: 23:00-24:30) March 14, 2011, around 7 p.m. This clip touches on what’s been one of the most controversial and politically sensitive aspects of Tepco’s accident response: Was the utility at one point planning to evacuate all its workers from Fukushima Daiichi, abandoning the plant to a complete and catastrophic meltdown? Japanese government officials, including former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, have said that former Tepco President Masataka Shimizu told them he was planning to pull out the workers; Mr. Shimizu insists he was misunderstood and was merely talking about an evacuation of non-essential personnel. From this clip, it’s not clear exactly what Tepco was planning to do. Managing director Akio Komori at Tepco headquarters starts off with, “We have to think about the rules for evacuation. Whether we can really stay in the control room of the plants. The situation could get very bad. Someone has to make a decision (for a pullout).” Tepco executive Sakae Muto, who oversaw the company’s nuclear operations, chimes in with, “OK. Please do that. But before making a decision on that, let’s make sure we’re on the same page with respect to the time that the reactor core (at Unit 2) could (become exposed). That’s 18:22 (March 14), right?” Mr. Yoshida: “That’s correct.” Mr. Muto: “And the core will melt down and damage the reactor pressure vessel in two hours, correct?” Mr. Yoshida: “Yes.” Mr. Muto: “What does the accident management manual say about evacuation when the (reactor pressure vessel) gets damaged?” Someone at Tepco headquarters: “Sorry, I don’t remember the guidelines for evacuation.” – WSJ

“Somebody needs to come up with a criterion for a pullout. At some point we need to make a decision on whether we can stay at the plant or (its) control rooms. Please start considering the criterion,” Komori said around 7:30 p.m. (March 14) – Japan Times

At what time will all the workers be evacuating from the site?” Akio Takahashi, a senior executive at Tepco’s Tokyo headquarters is heard asking Sakae Muto, then executive vice president, at 7:55 p.m. on March 14, the audible portion of the video shows. – Japan Times

Takahashi asked again, “all the people will soon evacuate from 1F (a reference to Fukushima No. 1) to the visitor hall of 2F (the nearby Fukushima No. 2 plant), right?”  – JapanTimes

Tepco President Masataka Shimizu is heard saying at around 8:20 p.m. that “a final evacuation has not been decided yet” and that he is in the process of checking with “related authorities,” possibly referring to the office of then Prime Minister Naoto Kan – Japan Times

In one segment, from March 14, Mr. Yoshida at Fukushima Daiichi and Tepco executives at headquarters had a chaotic discussion over the best way to cool the overheating No. 2 reactor, with Mr. Yoshida yelling that the plant was running out of time. – Zee News

In another segment, also on March 14, Tepco executives discussed when might be the right time to order an evacuation of the plant. – Zee News

Are we providing a release on this?” TEPCO vice president Sakae Muto asks, while discussing the meltdown of Unit 2’s reactor core. A plant worker says no, while another executive, Akio Komori, instructs workers to quickly conduct radiation monitoring because they might have to evacuate at some point. – AP

To this, another TEPCO official replies that he does not know the evacuation procedures contained in an emergency manual: “Sorry, that’s not in my head.” – AP 

Don’t ask us any questions,” he says. “Don’t disturb us, because we are now in the middle of trying to open the vent for the containment vessel.” With the situation at the No. 2 reactor growing more serious by the hour, there emerges a difference of opinion between Yoshida and Haruki Madarame, chairman of the Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan, over what measure to take. At 4:15 p.m. Yoshida presents his concerns to those at TEPCO headquarters, saying: “I received a phone call from Madarame of the NSC and he suggested that rather than use the vent line of the containment vessel, it would be better to pump in water first. Would it be all right to act under that judgment?”  According to Madarame, steam has to be released from the pressure vessel in order to inject water into the vessel containing the fuel rods. However, Yoshida is of the opinion that the pressure will not drop unless the water temperature in the pool to which the steam would have to be released was lowered. Unless that is done, he says, there is the possibility that exposure of the fuel rods could occur sooner. Yoshida asks those at TEPCO headquarters to try to convince Madarame. However, soon thereafter it becomes clear that Yoshida’s measures will not work. Hearing that, Shimizu gives instructions to use the measures called for by Madarame. Work proceeds according to Madarame’s instructions, but the valve does not open immediately and valuable time slips by. In the end, the situation remains serious, as neither measure has worked. At 4:57 p.m., Shimizu gives instructions to those at the Fukushima plant to carry on their response while keeping in mind the worst-case scenario. Those at Fukushima say such a scenario would unfold in about two hours if nothing is done. At 7:27 p.m., more than two hours later, discussion among those at TEPCO headquarters is centered on the possibility that all of the fuel rods have become exposed. At that time, Akio Komori, the managing executive director, who is at the off-site center in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, mentions evacuation. “Please proceed with the consideration of evacuation standards, because unless a decision is made somewhere about whether workers should remain at the central operating room something terrible will happen,” he says. While discussions are being held about evacuating workers from the plant, there is agreement that all of the fuel rods at the No. 2 reactor were exposed above water at 6:22 p.m. Akio Takahashi, a senior official, says, “Can someone at headquarters confirm that we are evacuating everyone at Fukushima No. 1 to the visitor hall at Fukushima No. 2?” Before Takahashi makes this comment, Shimizu can be seen talking on his mobile phone at 7:48 p.m. and leaving the video screen to the right. He is not visible in the video for a short period. Muto occasionally sits in the seat that Shimizu occupied. While The Asahi Shimbun has reported that at that time Shimizu was trying to get in contact with an aide to Banri Kaieda, the economy minister at that time, no direct confirmation can be made from the video. After Shimizu reappears on the video, he says, “I want to first confirm that at the present time we have not yet made a decision on a final evacuation. I am also right now proceeding with confirmation procedures with the proper authorities.  – Asahi Shimbun

One of those present were considered when the reactor core was damaged already because of the high pressure, it would take only a few hours, until the  containment vessel will be damaged. The quick succession of bad news has brought a lot of those present to beat her hands to her face, or loud aufzuseufzen(sigh). But with the increasing threat, and there were differences between the chairman of the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) Haruki Madarame, and plant manager Yoshida. At 16:15 clock called the Yoshida TEPCO guide his concerns. Madarame have suggested to him by telephone, it must be vented steam from the pressure vessel, so that pump water into the container, which contained the fuel rods could. Yoshida took the view that the pressure will not decrease until the temperature of the water in the cooling tank can be lowered. Otherwise, the fuel rods are exposed faster than would be the case for water cooling. The plant manager then asked the TEPCO leadership to convince Madarame. Shortly after it became clear that those policies do not work by Yoshida. Finally possessed TEPCO President Shimizu, one should proceed according to the plans of Madarame. Since the valve is left open, however, not immediately as arranged, valuable time was lost without the seriousness of the situation has improved. * At 16:57 clock Shimizu gave instructions to continue the work. In the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, it was felt that would happen to the maximum credible accident in about two hours if you grab any action. * 19:27 clock, which is more than two hours later, the headquarters debated whether the possibility existed that could already be free of all the fuel rods. First evacuation considerations about the same time brought in a branch office in Okuma (Fukushima Pref) present Managing Director Akio Komori first time the concept of evacuation to the game. You should also think about how to proceed with the evacuation directives, because if a decision would be taken somewhere on the whereabouts of the workers in the main control room, could harm already done. It agrees that clock at 18:22, while discussed the possible evacuation of workers, the fuel rods of Fukushima reactor 2 were exposed above the water table. Akio Takahashi, a senior executive in the video then asks if anyone could headquartered in the evacuation of all workers of Fukushima Daiichi (Fukushima 1) in the lobby of Fukushima Daini (Fukushima 2) confirm. Shortly before this comment is to see how TEPCO President Shimizu leads against 19:48 clock a conversation by cell phone while on the right comes from the view of the camera. Shimizu and reappears later explained that he wanted to first make it clear that was taken at this stage no decision on a final evacuation. He was in the  process to obtain feedback from the relevant competent authorities before he again leaves the camera field. – SpreadNews

Also on March 14*, the videos showed then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan bursting into TEPCO’s Tokyo office, rebuking officials and demanding they work harder. The portion of his visithas no sound. While Kan spoke for 20 minutes, operations at Fukushima Dai-ichi seemed halted, with officials and workers there, as well as TEPCO executives in Tokyo, sitting straight and quietly listening to him. Shown from behind, Kan spoke at length, appeared upset and frequently raised and lowered his arms. Government and parliamentary investigation reports have said that Kan, who thought TEPCO executives planned to fully withdraw workers and abandon the plant, yelled at TEPCO executives, demanding they “risk their lives” to get the plant under control. In a separate video segment, TEPCO executives debated a withdrawal but it is unclear whether they meant a partial withdrawal. Kan also reportedly said Japan would be destroyed if the plant situation worsened. – CBS

Later that evening, it was Mr. Yoshida’s turn to reassure executives at headquarters. In an exchange between Mr. Yoshida and Mr. Muto, the two discussed a radiation reading of 3.2 millisieverts per hour just logged at the plant—around three times the level Japanese would normally expect to accumulate in a year. Mr. Muto worried that the radiation reading was “extremely high.” Mr. Yoshida claimed it was “nothing,” since the plant had seen similar levels many times. “I tell you something,” Mr. Yoshida said. “I don’t think about radiation anymore.”WSJ


March 15

Are we providing a release on this?” asked TEPCO vice president Sakae Muto, while discussing with other officials the timing of the March 15* melting of Unit 2’s reactor core. An anonymous plant worker says no, while another executive, Akio Komori, instructed workers to quickly conduct radiation monitoring as he suggested they might have to evacuate at some point. Komori said workers may have to withdraw from the unit control room. A TEPCO official said he did not know evacuation details in an emergency manual: “Sorry, that’s not in my head.” – CBS


Comments without a day/time association:

Masao Yoshida, then chief of the power plant, is recorded as saying elderly veterans on siteare ready to work as a (suicide) squadto secure a pipe to be used for pumping seawater into reactor 2 to cool it down. – JapanTimes

The Unit 2 reactor was the most critical in the first few days, which Yoshida described as “skin-tight” situation. “Radiation levels are extremely high. You don’t understand because you’re not here, but it’s really a skin-tight situation. (The workers) can go in only a short while, and they have to rotate.” – CBS

In the videos, then-plant chief Masao Yoshida complained about phone calls to the prime minister’s office not getting through and showed frustration as he fought the government’s nuclear safety officials interfering with technical suggestions that didn’t fit the plant’s conditions. – CBS

This machine translated section appears to be after unit 3 exploded on the 14th but the translation is not 100% clear. They are apparently discussing fabricating information about “non combustible gas” leaking at the plant. The machine translation:
” TEPCO officials had approached, “Do not make a” mock measures “”. Was to pretend to have taken measures to prevent an explosion.  March 14, No. 3 last year, Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant exploded hydrogen, for answers to queries from Okuma-machi, Fukushima Prefecture, TEPCO headquarters personnel were consulted Takahashi Fellow. Proposal for “You are considered potentially combustible gas can not be denied that the leaked”, Takahashi Fellows are, or say mock the mock anti-“, ‘s or are studying measures for prevention, and gave an opinion? “I Can not we write this. Can be seen even though there is no leakage of gas concrete measures, and tried to Misekakeyo as if they take measures to residents.”
According to Fukushima Diary the translation was that Takahashi and executive with TEPCO in Tokyo asks workers at the plant to fabricate data so it looked like they were taking action to deal with leaking gas and that none was leaking. Fukushima Diary’s translation: “For this suggestion, Takahashi commented, “Can’t you make up some fake measures ? fake, I mean something to sound as if we were making some steps to prevent the gas from leaking. Can’t you write it ? ””
This is all for a response to the city of Okuma very close to the plant.

Yomiuri quotes (and EX-SKF translates) “Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata is heard on the phone with TEPCO’s senior management, “It is a judgement call whether it is OK to disturb citizens. If I’m asked about it (possibility of hydrogen explosion) in the next press conference, I will deny it, and say it is not possible.

Asahi also reports this exchange where Takashashi tries to send out public information without real confirmation.
“In short, the only change we have made was replacing ‘No. 1 reactor’ with the ‘No. 3 reactor’?” Takahashi said in the footage. “We do not know whether it was a hydrogen explosion, but since the government–the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency–is saying it is a hydrogen explosion, we can just say so–a hydrogen explosion, can’t we?”

WSJ reports a series of exchanges where TEPCO and Daiichi staff were trying to figure out how to relieve hydrogen at unit 2. All the while the blow out panel on unit 2 had been out since March 13 yet nobody knew this. Daiichi staff apparently had not been on that side to see. The plant was likely without security cameras due to no AC power. No outside media reported it. We found it on a March 13 digital globe satellite image. So the entire exchange wasted time and had no fundamental purpose in improving the response. WSJ’s claim that unit 1’s blast knocked out the panel is possibly incorrect as the position of unit 1 to unit 2’s side with the panel makes that less likely due to the angle. An alternative explanation could be that Yoshida knew about the blow out panel but was worried enough hydrogen could be captured under the roof that a top hole was needed.

* CBS news flipped the events for the 14th and 15th in their reporting. Based on other agency reporting from the videos and our existing records of the timing of the actual events we have corrected the dates for the CBS cited reporting.

A crucial footnote: TEPCO claims here they do not have audio of certain portions of the exchanges with Kan due to lack of hard drive space.
Here they claim that 50 hours were recorded at the corporate headquarters with audio and another 100 were recorded at Daini but the staff there forgot to activate the audio recorders.  TEPCO also claims that audio and video had to be recorded separately.

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