Yes, the nuclear disaster at Fukushima was sparked by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011, but a Japanese parliamentary report said Thursday the disaster that followed was man-made, and suggested more plants were susceptible.
That last bit is probably the most disturbing angle of the 641-page report, which said Tokyo Electric Power Company didn't take the damage to its nuclear power plant seriously enough quickly enough, and which "accused Tepco and regulators at the nuclear and industrial safety agency of failing to take adequate safety measures, despite evidence that the area was susceptible to powerful earthquakes and tsunamis," The Guardian's Justin McCurry reports. Tepco has argued that the tsunami was a "once-in-a-millennium" event, for which they couldn't realistically prepare, The New York Times' Hiroko Tabuchi writes.
The scary thing, though, is that the report found that it could have been the earthquake itself, not just the unusually large tsunami, that damaged the plant and sparked meltdowns in three reactors. "By suggesting that the plant may have sustained extensive damage from the quake — a far more frequent occurrence in Japan — the report in effect casts doubts on the safety of Japan’s entire fleet of nuclear plants," Tabuchi wrote.
In the end, the report concluded that the disaster was "profoundly man-made" and could have been prevented. "Across the board, the commission found ignorance and arrogance unforgivable for anyone or any organisation that deals with nuclear power. We found a disregard for global trends and a disregard for public safety," McCurry quoted from its pages. That must sting—and add to people's worry.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.