Japan’s TEPCO finally admits Fukushima nuclear crisis was ‘avoidable’

Tokyo, Oct. 14: Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has acknowledged for the first time that the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant could have been avoided.

In a statement, TEPCO’s internal reform task force said the utility was aware that safety improvements were necessary long before last year’s quake and tsunami caused three catastrophic core meltdowns at the facility, but failed to act because it feared the political, economic and legal consequences of implementing new measures.

“Looking back on the accident, the problem was that preparations were not made in advance,” the Japan times quoted task force, headed by TEPCO President Naomi Hirose, as saying.

“Could necessary measures have been taken with previous tsunami evaluations? It was possible to take action by introducing more extensive safety measures”, the task force concluded.

According to the report, TEPCO, however, feared efforts to bolster its nuclear facilities in the event of major natural disasters would spur antinuclear sentiment, interfere with operations and increase litigation risks, according to the task force.

The task force said that the utility could have mitigated the impact of the Fukushima meltdowns if it had diversified the plant’s power and cooling systems by paying closer heed to international standards and recommendations, the report said.

TEPCO also should have trained its employees in practical crisis-management skills, rather than conducting obligatory safety drills as a mere formality, it added.

Meanwhile, the Fukushima No. 1 plant has been stabilized to a considerable extent, but is still running on makeshift equipment as workers continue preparations to decommission its four wrecked reactors, a process that could take up to four decades, the report said. (ANI)