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Japan's TEPCO admits Fukushima disaster was avoidable, details shocking decisions that led to tragedy

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smoke plume (ss)
smoke plume (ss)

TEPCO, the utility in charge of the disaster-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, has admitted that it could have taken action to prevent last year's catastrophic triple meltdown. In a document laying out the groundwork for reform of its policies, TEPCO detailed the mis-management that led to the disaster. Aside from generalized statements pointing to a "lack of vigilance" in preparing for "low chance" events like tsunamis, the document contains some shocking admissions of guilt.

The utility actually carried out tsunami risk studies and identified what it needed to do to improve the plant's readiness. However, it says that it feared that if its tsunami risk studies were disclosed it would have led to an immediate shutdown of its plant until additional safety measures were put in place. It was also concerned that implementing "severe accident measures" would cause "public anxiety and add momentum to anti-nuclear movements."

"implementing severe accident measures [could] add momentum to anti-nuclear movements."

The full document makes for harrowing reading, detailing many warning signs that were ignored or missed, as well as mistakes made during and after the tsunami and resulting meltdowns. The Fukushima Daiichi disaster displaced over 100,000 people, and the long-term effect of radiation remains a huge concern. Japanese prosecutors recently opened a criminal probe into the disaster after 1,300 local residents lodged a complaint.