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The Fukushima investigators all followed a pre-set formula, apparently designed solely to confirm hypotheses that would put events down to purely technical causes.Yet Yoshida responded to the investigators’ questions from an entirely different point of view, attributing his decisions and actions to the brutal struggle between men (himself and his staff) and technology or, more precisely, the machines (the reactors) that had suddenly gone out of control.The latter was attributed to gross Soviet negligence, implicitly reinforcing a utopian vision of a safe and reliable nuclear industry.
The 9.0 magnitude Tohoku earthquake triggered a 15-meter tidal wave, which hit the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant approximately 45 minutes later.
The plant’s power was knocked out and the backup generators crippled.
Calling Fukushima a “made in Japan” disaster focuses attention on the failures of a socio-technical system apparently disconnected from industry good practices and the norms of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Moreover, its extraordinary scale allows it to be filed in the same historic category as another “aberrant” accident, Chernobyl.
Largely left to their own devices, Yoshida and the plant’s staff risked their lives at every moment.
Movie American History X Essay - Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster Case Study
Wearing stiflingly hot protective wear and buffeted by aftershocks, they searched for slightest sound or visual clue in the absence of measurement data.
The international community and the Japanese themselves quickly characterized the disaster as one that was “made in Japan”, meaning it was enabled by two circumstances specific to Japan: the country’s exposure to environmental hazards (earthquakes and tsunamis) and its cultural acceptance of collusion – real or imaginary – between corporations and government.
Management of the accident, both by its operator, the Tepco Group, and the Japanese government, has been condemned as ineffectual.
One can only wonder about the decisions Yoshida had to make between March 11 and 15, 2011, to avoid the worst.
And his gripping account calls into question some of the keystone principles of nuclear safety.