Sunday Fukushima Roundup

The mothers protesting on METI’s front lawn in Tokyo have not been evicted. The declined the request to leave and a rather huge crowd showed up at eviction time to support them. Tokyo police decided not to do anything due to the crowd.

The national government rejected the Fukushima Governor’s request for free healthcare for anyone under 18 living in Fukushima. Now the governor is considering spending money intended for decontamination and health surveys for the plan. Many have criticized the plan as a pressure tactic to try to get families with children to stay in the area. Maybe the governor could spend those funds evacuating children to somewhere safe?

TEPCO took second place for worst company in the world in an international poll. They only lost by about 800 votes.

Mitsubishi Electric has been banned from bidding on government contracts for padding bills.

METI minister Edano is instituting a program to encourage home owners to install solar panels on their homes to sell excess energy back to the grid.  Of course the power companies have added a surcharge to people’s bills because they say they have to pay a higher rate for the power sent to the grid from solar panels on homes.

One of the animal rescue groups has shared a gallery of images of their work inside the evacuation zone.

Problems at the destroyed power plant continue to degrade. Staffing problems continue to get worse. There are reports that subcontractors are increasingly hiring a lower caliber of staff, many can’t read or write and most have not been trained properly to work in a high radiation area. There are also concerns that there will not be enough workers by summer.

It was discovered that many agencies during the disasters didn’t keep records of their meetings. Yomiuri has put together a chart that showed the agencies most important to safety and protecting the public were the worst at documenting meetings.

Even worse are the revelations that the US government was in panic mode during the early days of the disaster. Meanwhile they were busy telling the public in the US how Fukushima was a non-issue. A recent AP article talks to Kevin Maher, a now former US Embassy staff member in Japan. That the US government was privately quite terrified of the unfolding disaster. This combined with the internal NRC emails that have shown repeatedly the worry, and minor panic inside the agency as the disaster unfolded. The NRC also orchestrated public answers to downplay the disaster.

It also came out that before the disaster the NRC had read in NISA officials on how to deal with a terrorist attack on a nuclear plant. This included procedures to vent pressure to avoid an explosion at a reactor. The NRC forbid NISA from sharing this classified information with anyone else including nuclear power operators in Japan.

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