What Happens if a Power Plant's Flawed Systems and Design are Ignored ?
Two years after the 1986 Chernobyl accident, Mitsuhiko Tanaka, a nuclear engineer who helped design the Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan, communicated with Japan's Ministry of of Economy, Trade and Industry to report a cover-up, which he himself orchestrated.
Tanaka, revealed that the steel vessel containing the fuel rods in Daiichi plant's number four reactor was faulty. The engineer disclosed that in 1976, he and his team performed a steel-strengthening procedure by subjecting the container to a temperature of 600 degrees Celsius or an equivalent of 1,112 degrees in Fahrenheit. Thereafter, Tanaka found out that the steel walls of the vessel had warped under the intense heat and that the steel braces, which should have been placed as support inside the container, were missing.
The engineer decided to manipulate the computer-aided designs, in order to pass regulatory inspections.. Accordingly, this was with the blessings of Babcok-Hitachi, K.K., the company tasked to manufacture the steel vessel. Unfortunately, Mitsuhiko Tanaka's confession, which was made ten years after the cover-up and two years after the Chernobyl accident, was not enough basis for the Japanese government to order Daiichi's shut down. .
In 1990, in his desire to make a clean-breast of everything he knew about nuclear power plants, Mitsuhiko Tanaka wrote a book entitled, Why Nuclear Power Is Dangerous. Still, it was apparent that the engineer's information did not create enough impact.
In 2002, Chairman Hiroshi Araki of Tokyo Elecrtic Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the Daiichi facility admitted that their company had submitted hundreds of falsified data and fake maintenane reports in order to pass the scrutiny of government regulators. The admission resulted tin Chairman Araki's resignation while TEPCO and its Daiichi plant continued to operate after a brief suspension.
In 2007, TEPCO was once again faulted for concealing information about six incidents of emergency stoppages at the said plant's number three (3) reactor.
Last March 11,2011, the faulty designs and systems of the Daiichi nuclear power plant bogged-down, when the site was struck by the powerful forces of nature. This was after an unexpected magnitude 9.0 earthquake shook the grounds and a great tsunami lashed against the power plant. The severity of the nuclear disaster was initially placed at level four (4), and has since elevated to level seven (7), which is the highest on the INES (International Nuclear Event Scale).
The government of Japan had to evacuate around 200,000 people, as the radioactive materials released by the plant reached far and wide. Threats of radiation has reached Tokyo's outskirts -- as far as 135 miles or 210 kilometers toward the south. Although, reports coming in from neighboring countries and even from as far as the U.S. disclosed that radioactive materials have entered their respective atmospheres. However, they were monitored to be at low levels and still within the safety limits.
To date, Japan is in a state of economic limbo because of the enormous devastation problems they have to face. The magnitude 9.0 earthquake and the 15-meter wavelength of the ensuing tsunami, substantially destroyed their livelihood and their environment. As if this wasn't enough, the worsening condition of the Daiichi power plant has aggravated their economic problems.