Japan's current administration is reportedly prepared to restart nuclear reactors to support the massive energy expenditure of the nation even amidst massive public protests. And according to a new government-supported study regarding the Fukushima crisis, the "myth of nuclear safety" could be playing a part in this.
The 450-page study was compiled by various experts from the field of engineering, law, media and a group of scholars. It said the officials were not trained well enough to haÂndle the crisis following the reactors' meltdown last year.
"The fundamental problem lies in the fact that utilities, including TEPCO and the government, have failed to see the danger as reality as they were bound by a myth of nuclear safety and the notion that severe accidents do not happen at nuclear plants in our country," the report said.
The report is the latest made into the worse nuclear disaster in modern times that happened after an unprecedented tsunami on March 2011 hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Also according to the report, TEPCO and NISA (Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency were both unprepared to cope with severe accidents and weather conditions, and that the government itself has messed up the evacuation.
"Both the government and companies should establish a new philosophy of disaster prevention that requires safety and disaster measures against any massive accident and disaster ... regardless of event probability," according to the report.
The report also noted that even though NISA is under the economic ministry of the country, it was a "toothless entity" which could not come up to the public's expectations. Now, the government is apparently trying to overhaul the agency in an attempt to make it more effective and independent.
A notable incident was when the workers at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant were instructed to cover their dosimeters with lead plates in order to cheat radiation measurements and continue working even under hazardous conditions. There were some of the employees who questioned their safety and refused to comply but a senior official of the TEPCO's subcontractor responsible for the work has threatened that they would lose any chance of employment if they don't follow.
The dosimeter is pocket-sized device used to measure a person's exposure to radiation and will give an alarm once it detects a high level. For instance, an individual who has been measure to be exposed to have an accumulated dose of 50 millisieverts in one year will be required to stop working and keep away from the high-radiation area for a specific amount of time.
On December 1, the foreman has allegedly directed his team to cover their dosimeters with lead plates but when three of the employees have refused to comply, he held a meeting with them the next day.
âEverybody who works for nuclear plants know that the limit is 50 millisieverts per year. If you get exposed to a lot of radiation, you will reach that limit in less than a year. It could run out in three or four months. You can't live by nuclear plants around the year unless you take care of your own radiation doses. You simply can't go and work somewhere else when you are not allowed to work for nuclear plants. You can no longer make a living when the dose runs out. Do you understand that? The 50 millisieverts just keeps running out," said the foreman on the recording.