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Thursday, June 21, 2012
READERS IN COUNCIL
Focus on Tepco's negligence
By ANDREW COAD
The "regrettable" aspect of the June 17 editorial "Regrettable 'go' on nuclear reactors" is the predisposition that nuclear energy is bad and must be eliminated. It turns our attention away from what the real problem was. Nuclear energy is as safe as humans make it.
It is surely regrettable that Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s management, together with Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission, failed — at a level bordering on criminal negligence — to ensure the safety of the Fukushima No. 1 plant last March.
Why didn't Tepco order that the only backup generator for the Fukshima plant be placed aboveground?
Why didn't Tepco management install a gravity-fed cooling system, a simple, cheap and a standard fixture outside of Japan?
Why were there no procedures for staff to follow in the event of an accident? Staff didn't even know how to vent the reactors — there were no procedures in place.
Why did Tepco refuse to develop robotic technology for gaining visibility into the reactor cores. This technology was not developed "because it presupposed an accident," a sign of supreme arrogance or stupidity — I'm not sure which.
Why did Tepco management ignore expert advice on the size of a tsunami that could reasonably be expected?
The Fukushima nuclear accidents occurred because of repeated failures by Tepco management. Let's hold it responsible.
Meanwhile, there is no reason why nuclear reactors in Japan cannot be restarted provided it can be shown that the failures at Fukushima could have been resolved. If this cannot be shown, then the reactors should not be restarted.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer's own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.