Blood, sweat & radiation

Blood, sweat & radiation

Oi Yoshida! Yes Do it now, hurry up! Yes Chief Yoshida This recording was released by TEPCO last Friday (05/10/12). The video conference audio was recorded shortly after the accident. Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant TEPCO main office and the Fukushima off-site centre The recording from these five locations, the total of six hours worth of recording has been released this time around. What has come to light from the recording is that Ten car batteries had to be used to secure the electricity supply and they were clearly caught off guard by the accident. Yoshida (ex-chief):
Sorry, can you do that on the telephone over there? When you don’t coordinate, our conversation gets muddled up. We are having an important meeting now Only speak out the stuff you have coordinated. A raw recording that captured the moment of nuclear accident existed. Last Friday, TEPCO has released nearly six hours worth of internal video conference recording on their website. The recording included the conversations between ex-chief Yoshida and TEPCO main office which recorded the tense situation. Yoshida (ex-chief):
We’ve just had an explosion now. Whatever happens, it will blow up. The recording reveals the time after the explosion of the unit 1 to the explosion of the unit 3 followed by the worsening condition at the unit 2 It’s been a year and a half since the accident but Why did TEPCO take so long to release [the recording]? It’s because we wanted to protect the personal information. Based on the actual audio track extracted from the video conference, We’ve reconstructed a video to show a tension filled nuclear power plant accident over the three days. 12th March 2011, 11 PM
36 hours before the unit 3 explosion The released recording starts at 11 PM on 12th March 2011, some seven hours after the unit 1 explosion had occurred. The following conversation was recorded during the TEPCO meeting in the main office. Main office:
As you already know, the majority of political power of the Democratic Party is held by the younger generation. I think they are very capable but they often lose temper much like (ex)PM Kan. I’ve experienced it six or seven times. I was called by (ex)PM Kan and he nagged me “How can you say everything would be OK whatever happens?” In the meanwhile, confusion spurred by the unit 1 explosion, TEPCO main office threw a numerous questions to the Daiichi nuclear power plant which was lead by Yoshida (ex-Chief). Main office:
I’m afraid it has already been reported on the tv news. They’ve reported that the pressure vessel has been fully filled up with water at 1 PM. So what time can we actually expect it to be filled up with water? Yoshida (ex-Chief):
No, as I’ve said before, We can’t trust the flowmeter too and there is a possibility that the pressure vessel won’t fill up completely. 13th March 2011, 7 AM
27 hours before the unit 3 explosion. Fukushima Daiichi lost the electricity supply. But they needed the electricity supply in order to operate the valves etc. What did they do next….? Fukushima Daiichi NPP:
We need four more batteries. Could anyone lend us the car batteries? They’ve resorted to use car batteries in order to maintain the electricity supply. Yoshida (ex-Chief of Daiichi NPP):
We’ve got another problem. The fuel pool at the unit 1 is exposed now. Huh!? I want to do something about it but how can I? How can they cool the unit 1 fuel pool? (ex)Chief Yoshida asked for opinions but Fukushima off-site centre:
Ice? How about throw in some ice? Main office:
Why would you throw ice or dry ice in the pool? Fukushima Daiichi NPP:
The pool holds about 3000 tons of water. It will literally be like pouring water on a hot stone. Like what happened at the unit 1, Hydrogen gas has been building up in the upper part of the unit 3 building Although they considered releasing the accumulated gas, Main office:
We could ask the national self-defence army to blow the panel up from the seaside using a firearm. No. We’ve thought about that but there are many important things underneath. But it will blow up anyway. After all, they couldn’t come to an agreement. Fukushima Daiichi NPP:
We’ve been using joined up ten car batteries to maintain the electricity supply but they are dead. In any case, we need to source more batteries. Fukushima off-site centre:
We went to Iwaki area today to buy a battery but we couldn’t buy a battery from anywhere. We are going shopping again tomorrow and we hope we can buy some. Fukushima Daiichi materials team:
This is materials team. We are going shopping again tomorrow If you have anything you require from a DIY store, please let us have the list. It has been more than 50 hours since the onset of the accident and the car batteries are their only hope. Furthermore, they had to buy them from a DIY store. ‘There will be no major nuclear accident’.
They have been chanting the safety myth. But this was the true situation. 14th March 2012, 2 AM
9 hours before the unit 3 explosion At the TEPCO main office, they have been discussing another plan. Japan was facing a scheduled blackout for the first time since the last war. Main office:
The Chief Cabinet Secretary, Fukuyama Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, Renho Minister of supply and demand measures has told me that I’ll be killing patients who rely on the artificial respirator and heart-lung machine at home. If I were to go ahead with the scheduled blackout, they will accuse me of murder. That’s what they said to me. Therefore, we won’t be scheduling it during the morning. We won’t have the blackouts in the morning. No. What should the PR department do? Don’t do anything. Errh, nothing!? Do nothing. We’d get in hot water if we were to hold a press conference now. Yes. It was decided that there was to be no scheduled blackout in the morning of 14th March 2011. BUT… 14th March 2011 about 8 AM There is a plan to start a rotated scheduled blackouts. Although there was to be no scheduled blackout in the morning, it was not communicated to the public and the transportation networks ground to a halt completely. While the heated scheduled blackouts debate continued at the TEPCO main office, the condition of the unit 3 deteriorated rapidly. Fukushima Daiichi Yoshida (ex-Chief):
That’s sudden. It will exceed the set pressure. The water level has decreased. Mr Komori! Main office: MD Komori
Is the water level declining? Fukushima Daiichi Yoshida (ex-Chief):
Yes. This is a critical state. Fukushima off-site centre:
We will bring it to the main entrance of the Fukushima Daiichi. Please meet at the front gate. Fukushima Daiichi Yoshida (ex-Chief):
Sorry, can you do that on the telephone over there? When you don’t coordinate, our conversation gets muddled up. We are having an important meeting now, Only speak out the stuff you have coordinated. 14th March 2011, 11:01 AM Fukushima Daiichi Yoshida (ex-Chief):
Main office! Main office! Main office:
Yes, This is main office. Fukushima Daiichi Yoshida (ex-Chief):
Main office Main office, it’s awful, awful. Yes. The unit 3 has exploded now. I think it’s probably steam. Finally, the unit 3 exploded. On the other hand, at the TEPCO main office, They have been discussing the detail for the press conference. TEPCO Main office: Akio Takahashi (technical fellow)
The point is, the explosion happened at the unit 3 instead of the unit 1, isn’t that it? That’s right. We don’t know if it was a hydrogen explosion but the government, NISA is saying it’s a hydrogen explosion so don’t you think it’s ok to say it was a hydrogen explosion. Yes, it’s a possibility. The prime minister’s official residence has already used the word ‘hydrogen explosion’. I think it’s better to stick with it. Yes After the unit 3 explosion A possibility of hydrogen explosion hanged over the unit 2 building. Yoshida (exChief):
As for the blown out panel of the unit 2, I think it might have been displaced during the unit 1 explosion. Main office:
Oh, is it displaced? Yoshida (exChief):
I have heard that there is a gap. Main office:
Oh! Lucky!! Yoshida (exChief):
One of the staff have gone to check it now but it is unconfirmed so please don’t get too excited. Main office:
It made me happy. Was it a blessing in disguise that the hydrogen gas was released from the missing outer wall panel hence the explosion didn’t occur? However, the unit 2 was developing a serious condition worse than the unit 1 or 3. Fukushima Daiichi NPP:
The water level of the fuel pool gradually decreases and it reaches the top of the fuel rods, if it continues to decline, the fuel rods will start to melt. Fukushima Daiichi NPP:
This is a suicide corps. Fukushima Daiichi NPP:
The pressure is decreasing. We’ve sent the staff to the unit to raise the pressure and to open [valves?]. There is no water, we can’t vent either. That’s no good. This is like the end. This is worse than the explosion earlier. arrrrgh… Hurry up [don’t know if he meant for the staff or something else] The audio was not recorded in the video conference footage but about this time, Yoshida made a telephone call to Hosono (Minister of State for the Corporation in support of Compensation for Nuclear Damage) and he said… “This could be the end.” Fukushima Daiichi NPP:
Venting. Venting is the primary task. There was no other option left but to carry out the dry venting. The dry venting lets out the built up steam from the pressure vessel and release it to the outside. But it also releases a huge amount of radioactive materials at the same time. It was truly the last resort. Fukushima off-site centre:
That stuff in the reactor container will be released. Main office:
Anyhow, it must be opened otherwise the pressure will rise. Fukushima Daiichi NPP:
But there is no other way but to open. Main office:
It must be opened. We must tell [the world?] that we are venting. But the building is filled with high enough radiation level that it can kill a person within a few minutes. On top of that, the inside of the building was pitch dark due to having no electricity supply which puts the workers in greater danger. Main office:
If you can do dry venting, Oi Yoshida! Yoshida (ex-Chief):
Yes Main office:
If you can do dry venting, do it immediately. Hurry up. Yoshida (ex-Chief):
Yes! Main office:
Chief Yoshida! Chief Yoshida? Yoshida (ex-Chief):
Yes. Main office:
Please open too. Even if a small vent is opened, there is another one too. Is that open? Yoshida (ex-Chief at Fukushima Daiichi):
Please don’t ask me too many questions. We are trying to open the dry vent right now! Please don’t disturb! Open the small vent first. Hurry up. Main office:
Fail close. Fail close! The released recording ends here. A few hours later after this conversation took place, the unit 2 was also damaged followed by the unit 4 explosion which released an enormous amount of radiation into the atmosphere. The situation continued to worsen than ever. We can tell from the video that they faced a critical state. There were confusion and tension. It’s hard to get clarity when I think of what was happening at the time. Indeed. They were in such critical state and they were talking about car batteries and shopping trip to DIY store. Yes, I was so surprised to learn that the car battery was their last hope. They say that the generators were damaged by the tsunami and this. I’m shocked. Anyone could easily come up with alternative options. For example, they could have asked the national defence-army to transport the generator by helicopter or something like that. Let’s ask Mr. Please tell us about how much confusion there was.Good morning Good morning The released six-hour audio track was extracted from 49 hours of recorded materials on 12th and 13th March 2011. TEPCO asked the media which part of the recording we wanted to examine, But we told them that we wanted to examine all of it. However, TEPCO declined. We are continuing to request the access of the complete recording. The footages were extracted based on the list of requests submitted by various media. And have you examined all of the 49 hours recording in order to make the list? Yes. We were only allowed to view 6 hours per day from 10 AM to 4 PM at TEPCO for a month. I commuted for two weeks, I didn’t even have a lunch and I listened and transcribed the contents. This is the transcription dictated by his team during the two weeks. This is it. Two days worth of accident record mounts up to this much paper. Indeed. You have seen other footages that haven’t been released. Yes. What’s your reflection? Actually, there are much more shocking parts. From the bottom of my heart, I deeply appreciate the restoration work carried out by the workers. They are literally putting their lives in danger. We are making noise about the annual radiation dosage limit of 1 millisievert. At the time of the accident, the radiation level was as much as 250 millisievert per hour. Some workers have been told if they worked at the site for a day, they would receive 100 millisievert of radiation exposure. But these conversations were common. They had to go there to work. The mangers are also putting their lives in danger and the workers are very co-operative. As far as this recording is concerned, I didn’t hear anyone cry about it and leave the site. How do you evaluate the way the organisation acted? They should deeply reflect on the way they’ve acted. When an accident like this happens, the government, TEPCO main office and NISA should have been prepared but their capability was reduced by confusion. You are quite right to get shocked about the use of car batteries. However, on 11th March shortly after the earthquake and tsunami had occurred, TEPCO actually ordered 1000 batteries from Toshiba. The delivery was despatched from Tokyo and it was on its way to Fukushima. However, there was chaos even in Tokyo such as road blocks etc and what was awful is that police stopped the delivery vehicle which stopped the batteries from reaching Fukushima. It was hard to believe.

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