Skeptics cast doubt on Fukushima status, even as Japan declares nuclear reactors 'stable'
Japan's government declared that the damaged reactors from the Fukushima disaster were 'stable.' Not everyone is convinced.
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...Despite there being no concrete data on the state of the reactor cores, claims by the government and TEPCO that the disaster is under control and that the reactors are on-schedule for a cold shutdown by the year's end have promoted a breakneck work schedule, leading to shoddy repairs and habitual disregard for worker safety, he said. ...Skip to next paragraph
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"Working at Fukushima is equivalent to being given an order to die," Suzuki quoted one nuclear-related company source as saying. He says plant workers regularly manipulate their radiation readings by reversing their dosimeters or putting them in their socks, giving them an extra 10 to 30 minutes on-site before they reach their daily dosage limit. In extreme cases, Suzuki said, workers even leave the radiation meters in their dormitories.
He added that the companies overseeing the work never order the workers to take these measures, but rather assign projects to be completed within time periods impossible to meet without manipulation of the safety tools. He added that daily radiation screenings are "essentially an act," as the detector is passed too quickly over each worker to get an accurate reading, and "the line to the buzzer that is supposed to sound when there's a problem has been cut."
Suzuki also says that inter-corporate secrecy and competition is undermining the repair effort, as "Reactor makers Toshiba and Hitachi [brought in to help resolve the crisis] each have their own technology, and they don't talk to each other. Toshiba doesn't tell Hitachi what it's doing, and Hitachi doesn't tell Toshiba what it's doing."
The Yomiuri Shimbun reports that former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, in an article he co-wrote with Tomoyuki Taira for British science journal Nature, called for the government to take over the Fukushima No. 1 power plant. Mr. Hatoyama criticized TEPCO for providing the government only limited information on the status of the nuclear site, and said there needed to be a broad investigation of what went wrong. As such, the plant "must be nationalized so that information can be gathered openly," he argues.
Roger Cashmore, chairman of Britain's Atomic Energy Authority, expressed similar criticism of TEPCO to Voice of America, though he said the Japanese government also deserved blame for failure to share information about the disaster. "Transparency is the word. One has got to be completely open about all of this and make sure that shortcuts and things like this can't be taken," said Mr. Cashmore. "People, I think, in retrospect have become very concerned about the regulatory system that existed in Japan."
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