Tokyo Electric Power Co.

The following blog post originally appeared in NEI Nuclear Notes.

Yesterday, news broke that an independent investigation by the Japanese parliament has concluded that the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was a “man-made” failure that could be laid at the feet of both Tokyo Electric Power Company and the government. According to Tokyo University professor emeritus and Committee Chair Kiyoshi Kurokawa, the Fukushima accident “cannot be regarded as a natural disaster … It could and should have been foreseen and prevented. And its effects could have been mitigated by a more effective human response.”
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The following story originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

An independent commission appointed by Japan’s parliament to study the causes of last year’s nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi had harsh criticism for the government, the operator of the plant and even the country’s national culture.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • At shareholder meetings last week of all nine Japanese nuclear utilities, proposals to reduce or eliminate the use of nuclear energy were voted down. Tokyo Electric Power Co. shareholders approved the government taking over 75 percent of the utility’s shares in exchange for a capital infusion of $12.5 billion. Eleven new TEPCO executives were also formally voted in.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. last week released its final report of the company’s internal investigation of events at Fukushima Daiichi following the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. Japanese media say that in the report TEPCO says it failed to adequately prepare for the nuclear emergency, but also criticizes the government for communication failures and interfering with the company’s emergency response. TEPCO said one lesson it has taken from the accident is the need for an emergency response system that takes into account a reactor that has lost all its functions and measures to improve the chain of command and information flow. The report, which TEPCO says was based on interviews with about 600 employees, on-site inspections, and data analysis, is being translated into English.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • Japan’s government has approved restarting two reactors at the Ohi nuclear power plant in the Fukui prefecture in central Japan. The government decision came after the governor of Fukui told Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda that he approved the restart. All 50 of Japan’s reactors have been idled for inspections, the last going off line in May, and the central government has warned of power shortages during the summer. Kansai Electric Power Co., Ohi’s operator, has begun work to restart reactor 3, which the company said should be at full power by July 8. Reactor 4 will be in full operation by July 24. The government is urging people and companies to continue conserving power in the Kansai area, especially if the rainy season ends early. Meanwhile, some major steel and paper companies are planning to build their own power generation facilities and to sell the surplus electricity to utility companies.
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