Saturday, August 1, 2015

Japanese Nuclear Utility Executives Face Criminal Charges

Subtitle: Fukushima Dai-ichi Disaster Was Alleged Crime 

From the Japanese on-line newspaper, English version, Mainichi Shimbun editorial of August 1, 2015, "Decision to indict ex-TEPCO executives in court over nuclear accident is meaningful."  see link   

From the editorial:  "The Tokyo No. 5 Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution recommended that former TEPCO Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and two former vice presidents, Sakae Muto and Ichiro Takekuro, be prosecuted on charges of professional negligence resulting in death and injury. This was the second recommendation by the
Fukushima Dai-ichi Plant before earthquake
source:  ORNL
prosecution inquest panel, whose eleven members were selected from among members of the general public.

In 2008, three years before the disaster, TEPCO released its estimate that the atomic power plant could be hit by a tsunami up to 15.7 meters in height. The inquest panel determined that the three former executives failed to take necessary measures, and neglected their duty to prevent a serious accident, even though they knew of this possibility."

This is significant because the Dai-ichi nuclear plant was designed for only a 6 meter tsunami (23 feet).  The 15.7 meter tsunami estimate from 2008 would be 51 feet.  The actual tsunami was approximately 50 feet high.  

If the TEPCO executives do stand trial and are convicted, a clear message will be sent to nuclear utility executives to modify their nuclear plants when new information becomes available, and not wait until a disaster occurs. 

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
copyright (c) 2015 by Roger Sowell

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