Leader of Fukushima 50 Put On 'Medical Leave'

Bruce Thompson

The November 29, 2011 edition of the Wall Street Journal had an article headlined, Fukushima Daiichi Manager Steps Down Due to Illness.

The manager of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will leave his post after serving as on-site crisis manager over the past eight months due to undisclosed health problems, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said. The company said there was no indication the health problems were related to exposure to radiation.

Masao Yoshida's departure comes less than a month before the plant is expected to achieve a safe shutdown, with the damaged reactors being brought under full control and kept at low temperatures.

Tepco didn't specify the manager's illness or how long he would be hospitalized, citing personal confidentiality reasons.

Then on December 3rd, Tepco released a report the WSJ headlined in a story, 'No Errors' in Nuclear Crisis.

More than eight months after disaster struck at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said an internal investigation, its first public assessment of its handling of the crisis, found no evidence of significant errors in its response.

But the plant operator also conceded it still didn't have answers to some key questions about the disaster, in the latest reminder of how little is still known about how the March 11 accident unfolded and what the current status of the plant is. [SNIP]

Most of the discharges of radioactive materials occurred on March 15, when radiation measures spiked inside the plant compounds. The released radioactive materials were carried by winds, and were then deposited by precipitation, causing widespread contamination in surrounding regions.

The amount of radioactive materials released into the atmosphere is estimated by the government at about one-tenth the amount in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Experts say it is crucial to find out how and when radioactive materials escaped into the atmosphere from the plant, as there is little information about what kind of health risks the local residents were exposed to in the early days of the crisis.

"We have yet to find out how the surge in radiation levels is related to various developments inside the plant," said Masayuki Ono, a Tepco manager on nuclear plant safety, at a news conference.

So once again we see the effect of both sides lawyering up and adopting an extremely favorable to themselves position in their public statements, rather than making an honest attempt to improve the level of certainty about the facts so as to get an accurate description of both the accident and its aftermath. It makes one think that perhaps Dick in Shakespeare's Henry the VI was indeed right, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." Tepco's stance is so bogus as to be laughable. But, so is that of the plaintiffs' lawyers.

About 40 shareholders of TEPCO recently demanded in writing that the company's auditors file a lawsuit against 61 past and current management executives seeking more than 5 trillion yen of compensation for the company. They said they will file a class-action lawsuit if the auditors fail to act.

The text of the interim report offers some hints as to its shortcomings

3.7 Spent Fuel Pools and Dry Cask Storage

Fukushima Daiichi had spent fuel stored in pools at each unit, in a common spent fuel pool, and in on-site dry cask storage. Spent fuel pool cooling flow was lost for all spent fuel pools following the loss of off-site power and was not immediately restored when the emergency diesel generators started. Unconfirmed reports were that sloshing of the water in the spent fuel pools resulted in a loss of some water during the earthquake. The explosion in the Unit 4 reactor building caused structural damage to the Unit 4 spent fuel pool, but it is not clear if the integrity of the pool liner was compromised.

Subsequent analysis and inspections performed by TEPCO personnel determined that the spent fuel pool water levels did not drop below the top of fuel in any spent fuel pool and that no significant fuel damage had occurred. Current investigation results indicate that any potential fuel damage was likely caused by debris from the reactor building explosions.

This can easily be dismissed by recalling the frantic efforts to drop water into the spent fuel pond of Unit 3 by bucket suspended under a Chinook helicopter and the effort to fly in huge cement pumping cranes. What else were they for but to refill the water in the spent fuel pond above the top of the fuel rods? The truth will eventually be found between the two extremes. But the leader of the Fukushima 50 knows what is being proposed is nonsense. And it seems he has bailed out because he cannot stomach the BS!

 

Based on my review, I think they will ultimately find that much of the radiation expelled from the spent fuel ponds escaped during those few days before they got a reliable source of make up water into the ponds, and that most of that was iodine, which has a half-life of merely eight days. With more than eight months having elapsed since the venting, the level of radioactivity of the iodine has dropped by a factor of one-billion! So the residual exposure of the public, outside the immediate evacuation zone where some radioactive Cesium remains, is negligible. The five trillion Yen in potential damages is outrageously exaggerated.

Watch for some prodigious backpedalling. Hopefully we will also get an accurate account of how timely help from the US Navy kept a nasty situation from becoming a catastrophe.

The November 29, 2011 edition of the Wall Street Journal had an article headlined, Fukushima Daiichi Manager Steps Down Due to Illness.

The manager of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will leave his post after serving as on-site crisis manager over the past eight months due to undisclosed health problems, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said. The company said there was no indication the health problems were related to exposure to radiation.

Masao Yoshida's departure comes less than a month before the plant is expected to achieve a safe shutdown, with the damaged reactors being brought under full control and kept at low temperatures.

Tepco didn't specify the manager's illness or how long he would be hospitalized, citing personal confidentiality reasons.

Then on December 3rd, Tepco released a report the WSJ headlined in a story, 'No Errors' in Nuclear Crisis.

More than eight months after disaster struck at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said an internal investigation, its first public assessment of its handling of the crisis, found no evidence of significant errors in its response.

But the plant operator also conceded it still didn't have answers to some key questions about the disaster, in the latest reminder of how little is still known about how the March 11 accident unfolded and what the current status of the plant is. [SNIP]

Most of the discharges of radioactive materials occurred on March 15, when radiation measures spiked inside the plant compounds. The released radioactive materials were carried by winds, and were then deposited by precipitation, causing widespread contamination in surrounding regions.

The amount of radioactive materials released into the atmosphere is estimated by the government at about one-tenth the amount in the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Experts say it is crucial to find out how and when radioactive materials escaped into the atmosphere from the plant, as there is little information about what kind of health risks the local residents were exposed to in the early days of the crisis.

"We have yet to find out how the surge in radiation levels is related to various developments inside the plant," said Masayuki Ono, a Tepco manager on nuclear plant safety, at a news conference.

So once again we see the effect of both sides lawyering up and adopting an extremely favorable to themselves position in their public statements, rather than making an honest attempt to improve the level of certainty about the facts so as to get an accurate description of both the accident and its aftermath. It makes one think that perhaps Dick in Shakespeare's Henry the VI was indeed right, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." Tepco's stance is so bogus as to be laughable. But, so is that of the plaintiffs' lawyers.

About 40 shareholders of TEPCO recently demanded in writing that the company's auditors file a lawsuit against 61 past and current management executives seeking more than 5 trillion yen of compensation for the company. They said they will file a class-action lawsuit if the auditors fail to act.

The text of the interim report offers some hints as to its shortcomings

3.7 Spent Fuel Pools and Dry Cask Storage

Fukushima Daiichi had spent fuel stored in pools at each unit, in a common spent fuel pool, and in on-site dry cask storage. Spent fuel pool cooling flow was lost for all spent fuel pools following the loss of off-site power and was not immediately restored when the emergency diesel generators started. Unconfirmed reports were that sloshing of the water in the spent fuel pools resulted in a loss of some water during the earthquake. The explosion in the Unit 4 reactor building caused structural damage to the Unit 4 spent fuel pool, but it is not clear if the integrity of the pool liner was compromised.

Subsequent analysis and inspections performed by TEPCO personnel determined that the spent fuel pool water levels did not drop below the top of fuel in any spent fuel pool and that no significant fuel damage had occurred. Current investigation results indicate that any potential fuel damage was likely caused by debris from the reactor building explosions.

This can easily be dismissed by recalling the frantic efforts to drop water into the spent fuel pond of Unit 3 by bucket suspended under a Chinook helicopter and the effort to fly in huge cement pumping cranes. What else were they for but to refill the water in the spent fuel pond above the top of the fuel rods? The truth will eventually be found between the two extremes. But the leader of the Fukushima 50 knows what is being proposed is nonsense. And it seems he has bailed out because he cannot stomach the BS!

 

Based on my review, I think they will ultimately find that much of the radiation expelled from the spent fuel ponds escaped during those few days before they got a reliable source of make up water into the ponds, and that most of that was iodine, which has a half-life of merely eight days. With more than eight months having elapsed since the venting, the level of radioactivity of the iodine has dropped by a factor of one-billion! So the residual exposure of the public, outside the immediate evacuation zone where some radioactive Cesium remains, is negligible. The five trillion Yen in potential damages is outrageously exaggerated.

Watch for some prodigious backpedalling. Hopefully we will also get an accurate account of how timely help from the US Navy kept a nasty situation from becoming a catastrophe.