NISA left prime minister in the dark as Fukushima crisis developed

September 03, 2011

By TATSUYUKI KOBORI / Staff Writer

Japan's nuclear regulator has acknowledged it did not provide the prime minister's office with vital information about the state of the No. 1 reactor at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in the three days following the March 11 tsunami.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said it asked the Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization (JNES) on March 11 to analyze the developing crisis at the crippled plant using its Emergency Response Support System.

The JNES reports included forecasts of changes in water levels and pressures in the reactors, the melting of fuel rods and how long the reactor vessels were likely to hold out.

NISA employees communicated the analysis on the No. 2 reactor to Cabinet Secretariat officials at 10:44 p.m. on March 11 and 0:17 a.m. on March 12. The analysis on the No. 3 reactor was sent to the Cabinet Secretariat at around 6:50 a.m. on March 13, NISA said.

But the analysis of the No. 1 reactor was not sent, despite being delivered to NISA at 1:57 a.m. on March 12.

"The reason remains unknown," Yoshinori Moriyama, NISA's deputy director-general for nuclear accident measures told a news conference Sept. 2.

Some of the results for the No. 1 reactor were fed into the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI), which forecasts the spread of radioactive fallout in the event of a nuclear emergency. SPEEDI produced its own results at 6:07 a.m. on March 12, but neither the Emergency Response Support System nor the SPEEDI results were communicated to the prime minister's office.

By TATSUYUKI KOBORI / Staff Writer
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Steam rises from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant's No. 1 reactor building on March 15. (Air Photo Service)

Steam rises from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant's No. 1 reactor building on March 15. (Air Photo Service)

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  • Steam rises from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant's No. 1 reactor building on March 15. (Air Photo Service)

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