|Daiichi Nuclear Power Station|
In contrast, the report released Thursday suggested that the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that triggered the tsunami may also have caused critical damage that led to the series of meltdowns. It argued that the nuclear power plants could and should have been made more quake-proof, and blamed lax safety measures on what it called the country’s powerful and “collusive” decision makers and on a conformist culture that allowed them to operate with little scrutiny.
The nuclear bloc, while reassuring the nation about its safe atomic plants, ignored safeguards that would have helped strengthen the Fukushima facility against a massive but foreseeable earthquake, the 641-page report said.
In a blistering assessment, authors described how regulators and nuclear operators went to painstaking lengths to either ignore safety risks at the plant or cover them up. It accused Tepco and government officials of slow and faulty communication after the disaster, which, the report said hampered the emergency response.
Both regulators and nuclear operators disregarded earlier warnings from outside watchdog groups that earthquakes posed a significant safety risk to the nuclear plants, an English summary of the report said. In the process, they “effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents.”
“What must be admitted — very painfully – is that this was a disaster ‘Made in Japan,’ ” investigation Chairman Kiyoshi Kurokawa wrote in the introduction to the report. “Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture: our reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to ‘sticking with the program’; our groupism; and our insularity.” More