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Lessons Unlearned? As Third Year of Anniversary Nears, Expanded Version of Fukushima Review Panel Report Published in English in Book Form by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 6, 2014 at 7:01 a.m.



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TO ENERGY, NATIONAL, AND SCIENCE EDITORS:

Updated Fukushima Civilian Panel Report Highlights Largely Unaddressed

"Human Factors" As Important As Earthquake And Tsunami In 2011 Reactor

Disaster

EDITOR'S NOTE: Copies of "The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Disaster: Investigating the Myth and Reality" published in collaboration with Routledge/Earthscan will be made available to book reviewers. Streaming audio of the news event proceedings will be available after the telenews event concludes on March 6, 2014. A high-resolution file of the book cover is available upon request.

CHICAGO and TOKYO, March 6, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An

extensively updated and expanded version of the Independent

Investigation Commission on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident

report published in English by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

(BAS) cautions that Japan has not yet fully learned the lessons of the

Fukushima reactor disaster, particularly the several ways in which the

"human factor" played a major role paving the way for the crisis and

worsening its aftermath.

Concluding with the warning that "Fukushima must never be forgotten,"

the new book - "The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Disaster:

Investigating the Myth and Reality" will be issued on March 11, 2014,

the third anniversary of the Fukushima disaster.

In March 2011, the Tohoku earthquake and ensuing tsunami triggered a

total loss of electrical power that caused the first Level 7 nuclear

accident since Chernobyl, making it among the largest-scale nuclear

accidents in history. At the Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO)

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, reactor cores in units 1, 2,

and 3 suffered meltdowns; unit 4's reactor building was largely

destroyed; and the area around the spent fuel pool was damaged, while

hydrogen explosions punctuated the disaster as it unfolded.

Radioactive elements blanketed the area. Three years later-more than

140,000 people continue to live as refugees from radioactive

contamination. On top of this, many hundreds of thousands of people in

Japan live with daily anxiety over the unknown effects, both today and

long into the future, of radioactive contamination.

Dr. Yoichi Funabashi, chairman, Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation

and report co-author, said: "Three years after March 11, 2011, this

crisis has not ended, because of the unsolved issue of the

contaminated water and the fact that there has been little change in

the human side of the equation: the whole system of Japan's

governance and leadership on nuclear matters. Putting aside the

question of the issues with nuclear technology, the human factor that

led up to the Fukushima crisis must remain a major concern. We need

to learn the Fukushima lessons more seriously in pursuing a new way of

decision-making, a new way of crisis management, a new form of

governance and leadership. Otherwise, we run the risk of an even more

disastrous situation in which Japan would have gained little in terms

of wisdom from the Fukushima experience."

Kennette Benedict, PhD, executive director, Bulletin of the Atomic

Scientists, said: "We are very pleased to release in English the

expanded and updated version of the independent civilian review panel

report on the Fukushima disaster. The book we are publishing on March

11, 2014 reveals the truth behind the tragic saga of the multiple

catastrophic accidents at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

It serves as a valuable and essential historical reference, which will

help to inform and guide future nuclear safety and policy in Japan,

the United States, and internationally."

The updated and expanded civilian review committee's report highlights

several ways in which the human factor played as significant a role in

the Fukushima disaster as the earthquake and subsequent tsunami:

-- Lack of unified and independent regulatory controls. "Perhaps the

biggest takeaway from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Station disaster

concerns the nonexistence of an effective nuclear regulatory

organization in Japan-one that is independent from nuclear

enterprises, politics, or academia; in short, independent from any

community within the 'nuclear power village.' To work towards this

objective post-Fukushima, the Japanese government established the

Nuclear Regulation Authority-an independent out?t headed by Chairman

Shunichi Tanaka, former president of the Atomic Energy Society of

Japan and former director of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency

(previously known as the Tokai Research and Development Center of the

Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute)-as well as the Nuclear

Regulation Agency as its secretariat, and the two regulatory out?ts

debuted in September 2012. Since then, however, the Nuclear Regulation

Authority has been caught in constant cross?re between pro and

anti-nuclear groups. And the pressure has not been mild . a national

consensus remained unreached on both the nation's regulation of

nuclear power stations and its nuclear energy policy issues."

-- Faulty management oversight. "In March 2013, TEPCO's Nuclear

Reform Monitoring Committee published a report in which it

admitted-for the ?rst time-that the accident was a 'human-generated

disaster.' This is, in fact, made obvious in the following pages, as

our commission illuminates the clear lack of facilitation and

preparedness for a severe incident at a nuclear power station in

Japan. Yet the lessons to be learned from Fukushima are not only

safety issues, but security issues as well. That said, it remains to

be seen whether TEPCO as well as NRA will work to deepen security at

its plants."

-- False sense of infallible technology. "The myth of absolute safety

blocked implementation of the so-called 'backfit approach,' in which

new scientific knowledge and the latest technological developments are

incorporated into existing nuclear power generation systems in order

to improve security. In the case of Fukushima, Japan's power companies

and regulatory bodies feared that any safety improvements would

provoke criticism that the existing safety provisions and regulations

were inadequate- and then such criticisms would have to be addressed.

In addition, they feared that the public would demand that nuclear

reactors be shut down until all such safety improvements had been

fully implemented."

The Independent Investigation Commission on the Fukushima Daiichi

Nuclear Accident, a civilian-led group, consisted of a working group

of more than 30 people, including natural scientists and engineers,

social scientists and researchers, business people, lawyers, and

journalists, who researched this crisis involving multiple

simultaneous dangers. They conducted over 300 investigative interviews

to collect testimony from relevant individuals. The responsibility of

this committee was to act as an external ombudsman, summarizing its

conclusions in the form of an original report, published in Japanese

in February 2012. That report was substantially rewritten and revised

for this English-language book edition. The English edition includes

the reviews by 3 world-renowned experts, Professor Frank von Hippel

(Princeton University), Dr. Jessica Mathews (President of the Carnegie

Endowment for International Peace), and Professor Paul t'Hart (Utrecht

University School of Governance).

ABOUT THE BULLETIN

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists informs the public about threats

to the survival and development of humanity from nuclear weapons,

climate change, and emerging technologies in the life sciences.

Through an award-winning magazine, our online presence, and the

Doomsday Clock, we reach policy leaders and audiences around the world

with information and analysis about efforts to address the dangers and

prevent catastrophe. With fellowships for students and awards to young

journalists, we help educate the next generation. For more

information, go to www.thebulletin.org.

SOURCE Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Chicago

-0- 03/06/2014

/CONTACT: Patrick Mitchell, (703) 276-3266 or pmitchell@hastingsgroup.com.

/Web Site: http://www.thebulletin.org

CO: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Chicago

ST: Illinois Japan

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0000 03/06/2014 14:00:00 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com

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The Associated Press

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