Monthly Archives: June 2014

The 1945 Radiation Surveys of Hiroshima Conducted by Japanese Scientists

https://www.academia.edu/7501572/The_1945_Radiation_Surveys_of_Hiroshima_Conducted_by_Japanese_Scientists


Abstract

Contrary to post war propaganda, the nuclear age did not commence in August 1945. Nor was this age an American invention.

The race to more completely understand the forces locked within the atom commenced in 1932. In that year James Chadwick confirmed the existence of the neutron with atomic nuclei.(See “The Existence of a Neutron”, J. Chadwick, 10.1098/rspa.1932.0112 Proc. R. Soc. Lond. 1 June 1932, vol. 136 no. 830 692-708, http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/136/830/692 (full text, free)

Though it is a fact of history that the USA first manufactured nuclear piles and nuclear weapons, it is also a fact that radiation sickness and other effects of radiation had been studied in the course of medicine world wide long before 1945.

Within the sphere of nuclear physics, Japanese scientists, working with Bohr in Germany in the 1930s sought, similarly, to understand and define the nuclear forces. Chadwick ’s discovery compelled the view that a new force, the nuclear force, existed. This rendered the electromagnetic theories of atomic binding incomplete, to say the least.

In the immediate aftermath of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, Japanese scientists mounted repeated, comprehensive, coordinated surveys of the stricken city. These surveys would be repeated in Nagasaki.

The current paper follows the work of Professor Sakae Shimizu and the rest of the team from Kyoto University. This team mounted multiple surveys of Hiroshima and recorded their samples and results.

With the Occupation of Japan by the US, the work of the Japanese scientists was confiscated by General Farrell and his men.

Some of the reports and samples (including human remains taken to the USA in 1945) have been returned to Japan.

The report written by Prof. Shimizu has never been returned to Japan. It is past time that it was. Some years ago media reports indicated that Shimizu’s work lay unsorted and uncatalogued in the US Library of Congress.

A study of the 1945 Japanese work, as recalled by Prof. Shimizu in 1982, reveals a depth of scientific and medical knowledge alive in Japan at the time, which would, if widely known by the general public, embarrass to a greater or lesser extent, the post war claims of the USA.

No human is King of nuclear forces. The consequences of the use of nuclear forces were foreseeable in 1942. The human data held by E.O. Lawrence, gained in the pursuit of nuclear medicine from 1932 onward, show this is so. Iodine 131, Strontium 89 and Phosphorous 32 being three of the first artificial substances use by Lawrence’s medical researchers successively from the early 1930s on.

Professor Shimizu found phosphorous 32 to be of particular interest in the bones he retrieved from the ashes of the doomed city. He recalled in 1982 the amount of P32 he found to be induced in bone as neutron rays from the horrific weapon rendered the bone radioactive due to P32 induction.

It is little wonder that the Allies at the time concentrated on the blast effects of the bomb, diminishing the radiological consequences in comparison.

It is no surprise that controversy still rages in regard to the effects of radiation. Still today, nuclear victims report facts and effects which nuclear “authorities” claim to be propaganda of the enemy or opponent.

Paul Langley

Link to Lallie’s Story – The Black Mist Incident and it’s Aftermath

Main Paper:
https://www.academia.edu/7446972/Lallies_Story_-_The_Black_Mist_Incident_and_its_Aftermath

Source Finding Aid, letters and some Source Documents in Support of Lallie’s Story:

https://www.academia.edu/7498785/Evidence_in_Support_of_Lallies_Story_-_The_Black_Mist_Incident_and_the_Aftermath
(the link works, however there is no preview available at the hosting site – the document could not be converted for some reason).

TEPCO breaks promise to its victims.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201406270055

Asahi Shimbun, 27 June 2014.

TEPCO ‘breaks vow,’ refuses more compensation for Fukushima nuclear victims

The operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has rejected requests for additional compensation from residents forced to evacuate because of the nuclear disaster, defying a government mediation center, The Asahi Shimbun has learned.

Prompted by a request from 15,000 residents of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, or more than 70 percent of the town’s population, the central government’s nuclear damage claim dispute resolution center in March issued a proposed settlement calling for Tokyo Electric Power Co. to pay an additional 50,000 yen ($492) per month to each town evacuee.

In the proposed settlement, accepted by the town residents, the mediation center also asked the utility to pay an additional 30,000 yen per month to those aged 75 or older.

But TEPCO rejected the proposal for an across-the-board 50,000-yen payment and said it would offer an additional 20,000 yen a month only to residents 75 years or older who have suffered injuries or illnesses, in letters sent to the town and the dispute resolution center on June 25.

“Its response substantively represents the absolute refusal of the proposal,” Namie Mayor Tamotsu Baba commented the following day. “It does not understand the pain of victims at all.”

Because TEPCO has said it would honor compromise settlements proposed by the mediation center, Baba criticized the plant operator for “breaking its vow.”

In March 2012, a year after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, the central government’s Dispute Reconciliation Committee for Nuclear Damage Compensation released guidelines on compensation for the emotional distress of nuclear victims.

According to the guidelines, TEPCO has to pay monthly compensation of 100,000 yen per person to 80,000 residents of mandatory evacuation zones around the nuclear plant.

The company has been complying with the recommendations.

“(The requests from Namie residents) deviate from the guidelines and can undermine a sense of fairness,” Yuji Masuda, a TEPCO managing executive officer, explained at a shareholders’ meeting on June 26.

TEPCO also took issue with the dispute resolution center’s argument that the utility should provide additional compensation because evacuees “are currently living in an extremely unstable condition where they cannot see any future prospects.”

In the letters sent to the town and the center, the utility said the status of those evacuees was already taken into account when the compensation guidelines were compiled.

The Namie residents on June 26 asked the dispute resolution center to persuade TEPCO to pay the proposed extras. The center plans to discuss the issue with the company again, and if TEPCO refuses to accept the proposal, the evacuees will possibly sue the utility for additional compensation.

A local government group, consisting of eight municipalities in the prefecture’s Futaba county, including Namie, has also demanded that TEPCO and the central government make changes to the guidelines and pay additional compensation to all their residents.

(This article was compiled from reports by Senior Staff Writer Noriyoshi Otsuki, Yu Kotsubo and Mana Nagano.)

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Fukushima Farmers protest livestock damage in Tokyo

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/japan-farmers-seek-aid-radiation-zone-cattle-24225552
ABC News USA
Fukushima Farmers Appeal to Tokyo With Live Bull
TOKYO — Jun 20, 2014, 2:20 AM
By ELAINE KURTENBACH Associated Press

Two Japanese farmers whose livelihoods were wrecked by the 2011 nuclear disaster staged a protest Friday at Tokyo’s agriculture ministry, scuffling briefly with police as they unsuccessfully tried to unload a bull from a truck.

Masami Yoshizawa and fellow farmer Naoto Matsumura have remained at their farms to care for their own and others’ abandoned livestock in areas where access has been restricted due to radiation fears since the March 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.

The two drove down from Fukushima, bringing the black bull in the back of a truck, to appeal for help with the livestock, some of which have developed unexplained white spots on their hides.

“Stop, stop, stop, stop,” shouted a policeman in a blue uniform who climbed into the back of the truck and blocked the farmers from leading the bull onto the pavement in front of the ministry. “It’s dangerous. Absolutely not!”

Yoshizawa and Matsumura are among thousands of farmers who lost their livelihoods when their farms, produce and livestock were declared off-limits and unsafe after the nuclear plant, crippled by a massive earthquake and tsunami spewed radiation into the countryside.

They want the farm ministry or other government agencies to help them figure out what is causing the spots on the animals’ hides and to stop culling abandoned livestock and burning radiation-contaminated vegetation they need to feed the animals.

“The ministry told us they don’t know what is causing the spots. Well, they need to do more research and figure it out. They can’t just run away, saying they don’t know,” Yoshizawa said.

Shouting through a megaphone, he urged the farm minister, Yoshimasa Hayashi, to come down and take a look for himself. Hayashi was not at the building, but at the parliament, and no other officials responded to Yoshizawa’s appeal, though the two were allowed to present a written appeal at the ministry’s reception desk.

More than 100,000 “nuclear evacuees” have left areas near the nuclear plant, many resettling elsewhere, resigned to giving up their homes in areas that may remain hazardous for decades.

Though some areas are gradually being cleaned up and cleared for re-occupation, in many areas feral cattle, pigs, dogs and other animals wander the overgrown fields and streets of the nuclear ghost towns.

Rice farmer Matsumura defied evacuation orders to stay in Tomioka, once a town of 16,000, though other members of his family left. He is tending 40 cattle, while Yoshizawa says he has 360 on his “Hope Farm.” Altogether, the two say they are trying to look after 600 head of cattle.

“Discarded towns, discarded evacuees. The cattle and people are still living. We cannot remain silent,” Yoshizawa said.

end quote

White spots on the hide of cattle occurred in the 1950s in high fallout states of the USA downwind of the Nevada nuclear test site in the 1950s. This damage is well documented. The reports have been included in the earlier blog posts as follows:

http://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/skin-lesions-livestock-a-few-kms-from-fukushima-diiachi/

http://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/fukushima-nowsbs-tv-australia-5-march-2013-spot-the-beta-burns/

http://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/beta-burns-on-fukushima-cattle-ignored-by-japanese-officials/

http://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/masami-yoshizawa-and-his-cattle-of-fukushima/

The concept of the “Reactor Park”

“An energy park would be a grouping of ten to forty power plants in one large area. Some of the plants might be coal, some nuclear, or they might be all of one type. An all nuclear plant complex has been called a “nuclear energy center.” The would have to be constructed on a gradual but steady basis – one or two would be completed each year. A variation of the energy park would be the “integrated fuel cycle facility” (IFCF), a complex of nuclear reprocessing and fabrication plants in one area. One rationale for the IFCF is that it would eliminate transportation from the reprocessing plant to the fabrication plant. This would make nuclear materials – particularly plutonium – less susceptible to sabotage or theft.

The utilities believe, among other things, that energy parks will save them money. General Electric, which will benefit by increased reactor sales, concluded that a twenty plant nuclear park would be 10 percent cheaper than twenty nuclear plants at ten dispersed sites (2 plants to a site). (footnote 11: Source given as General Electric Company: Assessment of Energy Parks vs dispersed electric Power generation facilities, Washington, DC, May 30, 1975, pp. ES-5)
Source: The Menance of Atomic Energy, Ralph Nader, John Abbott, Outback Press, ISBN 0 86888 051 5, 1977, Australian edition, Collingswood, Melbourne. pp 133 – end quote.

Fallout Map – Deposition from the Fukushima Event

http://blog.energy.gov/content/situation-japan/
The following information is available as a free PowerPoint document from the above website.
QUOTE:
US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY & NNSA

Radiological Assessment of effects from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Publication Date April 7, 2011

fuku fallout

fuku fallout

fuku fallout

OPERATIONS SUMMARY

• Aerial Measuring Systems have totaled more than 262 flight hours in support of aerial monitoring operations
• NNSA’s Consequence Management Response Teams have collected approximately 100,000 total field measurements
taken by DOE, DoD, and Japanese monitoring assets
• 240 total air samples taken at US faciliDes throughout Japan undergoing lab analysis in the US

GUIDE TO INTERPRETATION

US radiological assessments are composed of aerial and ground measurements and indicate radiation levels from material that has settled on the ground
• Each measurement corresponds to the radiation a person receives in one hour at that location. AMS data is presented as
exposure rate 1 meter from the ground at the time the measurements occurred
• All measurements outside the Fukushima power plant site boundary are below 0.013 REM per hour – a low but not
insignificant level

ASSESSMENT

An assessment of measurements gathered through April 6 continues to
show:
• Rapid decay of deposited radiological material indicating Radioiodine is the most significant component of dose
• Radiation levels consistently below actionable levels for evacuation or relocation outside of 25 miles; and levels conDnue to decrease
• No measurable deposit of radiological material since March 19
• US bases and facilities all measure dose rates below 32 microrem/hr(32 millionths of a REM) – a level with no known health risks
• Agricultural monitoring and possible intervention will be required for several hundred square kilometers surrounding the site:
• Soil and water samples are the only definitive method to determine agricultural countermeasures
• Ground monitoring can give better fidelity to identify areas that require agricultural sampling

CONTEXT

• The Nuclear Regulatory Commission estimates that the average
American absorbs 620 mRem a year* (or 0.071 mRem/hour)
• An average transatlantic flight produces an exposure of 2.5 mRem*
• A typical chest x‐ray produces 10 mRem per image
• EPA guidelines call for public health actions if exposure exceeds 1000 mRem over 4 days
* Source: NRC: hTp://nrc.gov/images/about‐nrc/radiation/factoid2‐lrg.gif
END QUOTE

Did Quake kill cooling system at Fukushima No. 1 Prior to Tsunami?

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Japan/MH12Dh01.html

What happened at Fukushima?
By David McNeill and Jake Adelstein

It is one of the mysteries of Japan’s ongoing nuclear crisis: How much damage did the March 11 earthquake do to the Fukushima Daiichi reactors before the tsunami hit? The stakes are high: If the quake structurally compromised the plant and the safety of its nuclear fuel, then every other similar reactor in Japan will have to be reviewed and possibly shut down. With virtually all of Japan’s 54 reactors either offline (35) or scheduled for shutdown by next April, the issue of structural safety looms over the decision to restart every one in the months and years after.

The operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) has been damaged by the crisis. On Tuesday it reported a 572 billion yen (US$7.4 billion) loss on clean-up charges and compensating people affected by the explosions at the Fukushima nuclear plant. TEPCO’s share price is down about 80% since the day before the disaster struck.

But the key question for the company and its regulators to answer is this: How much damage was inflicted on the Daiichi plant before the first tsunami reached the plant roughly 40 minutes after the earthquake? TEPCO and the Japanese government are hardly reliable adjudicators in this controversy. ”There has been no meltdown,” top government spokesman Edano Yukio famously repeated in the days after March 11. ”It was an unforeseeable disaster,” TEPCO’s then President Shimizu Masataka improbably said later. As we now know, meltdown was already occurring even as Edano spoke. And far from being unforeseeable, the disaster had been repeatedly forewarned.

Throughout the months of lies and misinformation, one story has stuck: The earthquake knocked out the plant’s electric power, halting cooling to its six reactors. The tsunami – a unique, one-off event – then washed out the plant’s back-up generators, shutting down all cooling and starting the chain of events that would cause the world’s first triple meltdown. That line has now become gospel at TEPCO.

”We had no idea that a tsunami was coming,” said Murata Yasuki, head of public relations for the now ruined facility. ”It came completely out of the blue” (“nemimi ni mizu datta”). Safety checks have since focused heavily on future damage from tsunamis.

But what if recirculation pipes and cooling pipes burst, snapped, leaked, and broke completely after the earthquake – before the tidal wave reached the facilities and before the electricity went out? This would surprise few people familiar with the nearly 40-year-old reactor one, the grandfather of the nuclear reactors still operating in Japan.

Problems with the fractured, deteriorating, poorly repaired pipes and the cooling system had been pointed out for years. In 2002, whistleblower allegations that TEPCO had deliberately falsified safety records came to light and the company was forced to shut down all of its reactors and inspect them, including the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant. Sugaoka Kei, a General Electric on-site inspector first notified Japan’s nuclear watchdog, Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) in June of 2000. The government of Japan took two years to address the problem, then colluded in covering it up – and gave the name of the whistleblower to TEPCO.

In September 2002, TEPCO admitted covering up data about cracks in critical circulation pipes in addition to previously revealed falsifications. In their analysis of the cover-up, The Citizen’s Nuclear Information Center writes:

”The records that were covered up had to do with cracks in parts of the reactor known as recirculation pipes. These pipes are there to siphon off heat from the reactor. If these pipes were to fracture, it would result in a serious accident in which coolant leaks out. From the perspective of safety, these are highly important pieces of equipment. Cracks were found in the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant, reactor one, reactor two, reactor three, reactor four, reactor five.”

The cracks in the pipes were not due to earthquake damage; they came from the simple wear and tear of long-term usage. On March 2, 2011, nine days before the meltdown, the Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) warned TEPCO of its failure to inspect critical pieces of plant equipment, including the recirculation pumps. TEPCO was ordered to make the inspections, perform repairs if needed and report to NISA on June 2. It does not appear that the report has been filed as of this time.

The problems were not only with the piping. Gas tanks at the site also exploded after the earthquake. The outside of the reactor building suffered structural damage. There was no one really qualified to assess the radioactive leakage because, as NISA admits, after the accident all the on-site inspectors fled. And the quake and tsunami broke most of the monitoring equipment so there was little information available on radiation afterwards.

The authors have spoken to several workers at the plant. Each recites the same story: Serious damage to piping and at least one of the reactors before the tsunami hit. All have requested anonymity because they are still working at or connected with the stricken plant. Worker A, a 27-year-old maintenance engineer who was at the Fukushima complex on March 11, recalls hissing, leaking pipes.

”I personally saw pipes that had come apart and I assume that there were many more that had been broken throughout the plant. There’s no doubt that the earthquake did a lot of damage inside the plant. There were definitely leaking pipes, but we don’t know which pipes – that has to be investigated. I also saw that part of the wall of the turbine building for reactor one had come away. That crack might have affected the reactor.”

The walls of the reactor are quite fragile, he notes.

”If the walls are too rigid, they can crack under the slightest pressure from inside so they have to be breakable because if the pressure is kept inside and there is a buildup of pressure, it can damage the equipment inside the walls. So it needs to be allowed to escape. It’s designed to give during a crisis, if not it could be worse – that might be shocking to others, but to us it’s common sense.”

WORKER B, a technician in his late thirties who was also on site at the time of the earthquake recalls what happened.

”It felt like the earthquake hit in two waves, the first impact was so intense you could see the building shaking, the pipes buckling, and within minutes, I saw pipes bursting. Some fell off the wall. Others snapped. I’m pretty sure that some of the oxygen tanks stored on site had exploded but I didn’t see for myself. Someone yelled that we all needed to evacuate. I was severely alarmed because as I was leaving I was told, and I could see, that several pipes had cracked open, including what I believe were cold water supply pipes. That would mean that coolant couldn’t get to the reactor core. If you can’t get sufficient coolant to the core, it melts down. You don’t have to be a nuclear scientist to figure that out.”

As he was heading to his car, he could see that the walls of the reactor one building itself had already started to collapse. ”There were holes in them. In the first few minutes, no one was thinking about a tsunami. We were thinking about survival.”

Worker C was coming into work late when the earthquake hit. ”I was in a building nearby when the earthquake shook. After the second shockwave hit, I heard a loud explosion. I looked out the window and I could see white smoke coming from reactor one. I thought to myself, ‘this is the end’.”

When the worker got to the office five to 15 minutes later the supervisor immediately ordered everyone to evacuate, explaining, ”there’s been an explosion of some gas tanks in reactor one, probably the oxygen tanks. In addition to this there has been some structural damage, pipes have burst, meltdown is possible. Please take shelter immediately.” (It should be noted that several explosions occurred at Daiichi even after the March 11 earthquake, one of which TEPCO stated, ”was probably due to a gas tank left behind in the debris”.)

As the employees prepared to leave, the tsunami warning came. Many of them fled to the top floor of a building near the site and waited to be rescued.

The suspicion that the quake caused severe damage to the reactors is strengthened by reports that radiation leaked from the plant minutes later. Bloomberg has reported that a radiation alarm went off at the plant before the tsunami hit on March 11. The news agency says that one of the few monitoring posts left working, on the perimeter of the plant ”about 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) from the No. 1 reactor went off at 3:29 pm, minutes before the station was overwhelmed by the tsunami.”

The reason for official reluctance to admit that the earthquake did direct structural damage to reactor one is obvious. Onda Katsunobu, author of TEPCO: The Dark Empire, who sounded the alarm about the firm, explains it this way:

”If TEPCO and the government of Japan admit an earthquake can do direct damage to the reactor, this raises suspicions about the safety of every reactor they run. They are using a number of antiquated reactors that have the same systemic problems, the same wear and tear on the piping.”

Onda Katsunobu’s book detailed the history of accidents and cover-ups at TEPCO in great detail. It was mostly ignored and sold only 4,000 copies. Published in 2007, it was reissued this year. In many ways, it was remarkably prescient book.

Kikuchi Yoichi, a former GE engineer who helped build the Fukushima nuclear power plant says unequivocally that, “the
Page 2 of 2
What happened at Fukushima?
By David McNeill and Jake Adelstein

earthquake caused the meltdown not the tsunami.” In his recent book Why I’m Against the Nuclear Plants I Helped Build, he explains that poorly maintained water pipes and circulation system failure were the cause of the triple meltdown:

”At Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, at first the plan was to use the water coffin approach. In other words, to fill the containment vessels with water and cool down the pressure vessel and ensure a safe and stable state. However, once (TEPCO) understood that the containment vessels had been damaged, they gave up this plan. Because water was probably leaking all over the place from the pipes, from the start this was an unreasonable scenario.”

Tanaka Mitsuhiko, a former nuclear power plant designer and science writer asserts that at least the Number One reactor

Page 2 of 2
What happened at Fukushima?
By David McNeill and Jake Adelstein

earthquake caused the meltdown not the tsunami.” In his recent book Why I’m Against the Nuclear Plants I Helped Build, he explains that poorly maintained water pipes and circulation system failure were the cause of the triple meltdown:

”At Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, at first the plan was to use the water coffin approach. In other words, to fill the containment vessels with water and cool down the pressure vessel and ensure a safe and stable state. However, once (TEPCO) understood that the containment vessels had been damaged, they gave up this plan. Because water was probably leaking all over the place from the pipes, from the start this was an unreasonable scenario.”

Tanaka Mitsuhiko, a former nuclear power plant designer and science writer asserts that at least the Number One reactor

melted down as a result of the earthquake damage. He describes it as a loss of coolant accident (LOCA). “The data that TEPCO has made public shows a huge loss of coolant within the first few hours of the earthquake. It can’t be accounted for by the loss of electrical power. There was already so much damage to the cooling system that a meltdown was inevitable long before the tsunami arrived.”

He says the released data shows that at 2:52 pm on March 11, before the tsunami had arrived, the emergency circulation equipment of both the A and B systems automatically started up. “This only happens when there is a loss of coolant.” Between 3:04 pm and 3:11 pm the water sprayer inside the containment vessel was turned on. Tanaka says that it is an emergency measure only done when other cooling systems have failed.

By the time the tsunami arrived and knocked out all the electrical systems, circa 3:37 pm, the plant was already on its way to melting down.

Tanaka believes that a fault in the Mark I reactor, the same type as the number one reactor, was another contributing factor to the meltdown. On November 5, 1987, NISA began an evaluation of the Mark 1 reactors to consider how much stress they could take before a LOCA would occur. The results of that evaluation have not been made public.

There are currently 10 remaining Mark type reactors in Japan, according to Tanaka’s research. He believes that each one is the equivalent of a ticking time bomb.

Sugaoka Kei, who conducted on-site inspections at the Fukushima plant, was the man who first blew the whistle on TEPCO’s data tampering with critical machinery. He says that he wasn’t surprised that a meltdown took place after the earthquake. He sent the Japanese government a letter dated June 28, 2000 warning them of the problems there. It took the Japanese government almost two years to act on that warning.

Sugaoka asserts in his letter that TEPCO left in place and continued to operate a severely damaged steam dryer in the plant even ten years after he pointed out the problem. The steam dryer had never been properly installed and was 180 degrees out of place. Sugaoka states, ”It wasn’t a surprise that a nuclear accident happened there. I always thought it was just a matter of time. This is one of those times in my life when I’m not happy I was right.”

Worker A says there were ”probably pieces of equipment on site that had never been checked.”

”Let’s say you have a refrigerator – the manufacturer recommends it be checked every 10 years. But it’s surrounded by many other kinds of equipment in the plant, all with different requirements for checking. So if the refrigerator check is missed, it will be another 10 years before it is done. Sometimes checks might not happen for decades. In a strong earthquake, that equipment could fail. That’s TEPCO’s responsibility. They’re supposed to make the schedule.”

Onda Katsunobu notes, ”I’ve spent decades researching TEPCO and its nuclear power plants and what I’ve found, and what government reports confirm, is that the nuclear reactors are only as strong as their weakest links, and those links are the pipes.”

During his research, Onda spoke with several engineers who worked at the TEPCO plants. One told him that often piping would not match up the way it should according to the blueprints. In that case, the only solution was to use heavy machinery to pull the pipes close enough together to weld them shut. Inspection of piping was often cursory and the backs of the pipes, which were hard to reach, were often ignored. Since the inspections themselves were generally cursory and done by visual checks, it was easy to ignore them. Repair jobs were rushed; no one wanted to be exposed to nuclear radiation longer than necessary.

Onda adds, ”When I first visited the Fukushima power plant it was a web of pipes. Pipes on the wall, on the ceiling, on the ground. You’d have to walk over them, duck under them – sometimes you’d bump your head on them. It was like a maze of pipes inside.”

It’s not very difficult to explain what happened at reactor one and perhaps the other reactors as well, Onda believes:

”The pipes, which regulate the heat of the reactor and carry coolant are the veins and arteries of a nuclear power plant; the core is the heart. If the pipes burst, vital components don’t reach the heart and thus you have a heart attack, in nuclear terms: meltdown. In simpler terms, you can’t cool a reactor core if the pipes carrying the coolant and regulating the heat rupture – it doesn’t get to the core.”

Hasuike Touru, a TEPCO employee from 1977 until 2009 and former general safety manager of the Fukushima plant, also notes: ”The emergency plans for a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima plant had no mention of using sea-water to cool the core. To pump seawater into the core is to destroy the reactor. The only reason you’d do that is that no other water or coolant was available.”

Before dawn on March 12, the water levels at the reactor began to plummet and the radiation began rising. Meltdown was taking place. The TEPCO Press release on March 12, just after 4 am, states: ”The pressure within the containment vessel is high but stable.” There was one note buried in the release that many people missed. ”The emergency water circulation system was cooling the steam within the core; it has ceased to function.”

According to the daily Chunichi Shinbun and other sources, a few hours after the earthquake, extremely high levels of radiation were recorded within the reactor one building. The level of contamination was so high that a single day exposed to it would be fatal. The water levels of the reactor were already sinking. 6 hours and 20 minutes after the earthquake on March 11 at 9:08 am the radiation level was 0.8 millisievert (mSv) every 10 seconds. In other words, if you spent 20 minutes exposed to those radiation levels you would exceed the five-year limit for a nuclear reactor worker in Japan.

At 9:51 pm, under the CEO orders, the inside of the reactor building was declared a no-entry zone. Around 11 pm, radiation levels for the inside of the turbine building, which was next door to the reactor reached levels of 0.5 to 1.2 mSv per hour.

The meltdown was already underway.

Oddly enough, while TEPCO later insisted that the cause of the meltdown was the tsunami knocking out emergency power systems, at the 7:47 pm TEPCO press conference the same day, the spokesman, in response to questions from the press about the cooling systems, stated that the emergency water circulation equipment and reactor core isolation time cooling systems would work even without electricity. The emergency water circulation system (IC) did in fact start working before the power loss and continue working after the power was lost as well.

Sometime between 4 and 6 am, on May 12, Yoshida Masao, the plant manager decided it was time to pump seawater into the reactor core and notified TEPCO. Seawater was not pumped in until hours after a hydrogen explosion occurred, roughly 8 pm that day. By then, it was probably already too late.

On May 15, TEPCO went some way toward admitting at least some of these claims in a report called ”Reactor Core Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit One.” The report said there was pre-tsunami damage to key facilities including pipes. ”This means that assurances from the industry in Japan and overseas that the reactors were robust is now blown apart,” said Shaun Burnie, an independent nuclear waste consultant. ”It raises fundamental questions on all reactors in high seismic risk areas.”

As Burnie points out, TEPCO also admitted massive fuel melt -16 hours after loss of coolant, and 7-8 hours before the explosion in unit 1. ”Since they must have known all this – their decision to flood with massive water volumes would guarantee massive additional contamination – including leaks to the ocean.”

No one knows exactly how much damage was done to the plant by the quake, or if this damage alone would account for the meltdown. However, eyewitness testimony and TEPCO’S own data indicates that the damage was significant. All of this despite the fact that shaking experienced at the plant during the quake was within it’s approved design specifications. Says Hasuike:

”What really happened at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant to cause a meltdown? TEPCO and the government of Japan have provided many explanations. They don’t make sense. The one thing they haven’t provided is the truth. It’s time that they did.”

David McNeill writes for The Independent, The Irish Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is an Asia-Pacific Journal coordinator.

Jake Adelstein worked primarily as a police reporter for The Yomiuri newspaper from April 1993 to November 2005; he was the first foreigner to write in Japanese for a national newspaper. He now runs the website http://www.japansubculture.com, writes for Japanese periodicals and The Atlantic Wire, and does risk management consulting for foreign firms in Japan. He is the author of Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan.