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Stunning Story from a Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Worker By OSHIDORI MAKO


Tyvek protective clothing received from another worker

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May 27, 2013

Mako Oshidori of Yoshimoto Creative Agency is a member of the Manzai Kyokai (The Association for Stand-up Comedians) and of the Board of Directors of the Free Press Association of Japan. She regularly attends press conferences given by public authorities and TEPCO since the outbreak of the Great East Japan Earthquake. She also relentlessly does reporting on Fukushima and other disaster-affected areas. She presently writes columns for “DAYS JAPAN” and “MAGAZINE 9”. For donations, please go to the link below: 

http://oshidori-mako.laff.jp/blog/2011/07/post-ad67.html. Thank you for your support!

Excerpt from column #57 “Iwakino Mama Tachi to Chikachosuisou to Sagyoin no kata no Ohanashi no Ken” literally, “About mothers in Iwaki, underground water tank and stories from a worker” of “Datsutte miru?” on MAGAZINE 9. http://www.magazine9.jp/oshidori/130415/index.php#san


Stunning Story from a Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Worker

I heard a stunning story which made me think that the leak of concentrated salt water from an underground water storage tank is a relatively minor accident.

On April 11, I talked with a Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant worker and a young professor of theUniversityofTokyo.

Why skimp on money and time in the management of a level 7 nuclear accident?

Worker: I think that leaks here and there are a normal thing.

– Are you serious? Why?

Worker: Because it was a situation of emergency in which a lot of facilities were built in a rush. After the accident, facilities were being built in such a speedy fashion that it did not matter if they had to last for only one year or so.

Some constructors have even put the sentence “Quality is not guaranteed” in the contract. Facilities built and supposed “to last for only one year” are still being used. It is normal that their condition deteriorates.

– Shocked…

Worker: In addition the effort to secure “cheaper commissions in order to cut down expenses” is also a problem. The government allocates funds to TEPCO for the management of the nuclear power plant accident, but the money is not a grant. It is a debt and must be refunded in the future.
Since the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is not expected to generate profit in the future, it is normal that TEPCO seek to reduce its debt as much as possible.

That is the reason why “cutting the budget, reducing the cost, and using lower price materials” for constructions and facilities in the management of the nuclear power plant accident is the order of the day.
On the ground, there are no such attempts as to gather the brains of the World in order to effectively deal with the nuclear accident.

That is quite far from gathering the brains of the World. It’s just a get-together of stingy people, right?

Worker: It is stinginess not only with money but with time, too. Orders such as “It is the fiscal year-end. So hurry up and complete the construction work!” are common. Sometime you hear things such as “It is the fiscal year-end, there is no more funding available”. Why should the “fiscal year-end” take priority over any other matter in an unsettled situation of a Level 7 nuclear disaster?

Is it alright to entrust the management of a nuclear power plant accident to just one business entity such as TEPCO? As long as TEPCO is a business entity, it is in pursuit of profit and book closing at the year-end is part of that. So, I think that things won’t work if the management of the accident and the decommissioning project of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant are not separated from TEPCO and entrusted to an ad hoc specialized team.