TEPCO couldn’t get battery during Fukushima meltdown; went to hardware store the next day

Read Time:2 Minute, 47 Second

National Oct. 10, 2012 – 07:15AM JST


Recent tapes released have sent ripples across Japan’s news programs showing first-hand Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) handling of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Many were outraged over TEPCO management’s muddled communications with plant director, an increasingly frustrated Masao Yoshida.

Among the hours and hours of footage, there’s one particularly odd incident in which one of the largest electric companies in Japan couldn’t seem to get their hands on a battery. In fact, it took about 24 hours and trip to the hardware store to buy it while on the brink of meltdown.

With reactors 2 and 3 on the verge of having a meltdown, the on-site team had to open a valve to release coolant into the reactors.  However, with the extensive damage to the plant, an ordinary car battery was needed to power the valve controls.

The following dialog is taken from a TV program which outlines what took place on March 13 with Fukushima Daiichi and TEPCO management trying to get a battery.

Fukushima Daiichi Materials Team “We don’t have enough cash. Sorry to ask but if it’s possible could you lend it to me? We’d appreciate it.”

Head Office Akio Komori, Managing Director (at the time) “I wonder if someone’s using the helicopter today. Who’s using the helicopter? We can use a helicopter to carry the cash.”

Narrator “Units 2 and 3 are also in danger of meltdown. They had to connect a car battery to the valve to activate the reactor coolant. However, there wasn’t even enough cash to buy one…Finally after 10 hours…”

Head Office Akio Komori, Managing Director (at the time) “We sent a person from the head office to [Fukushima’s] off-site center carrying a lot of cash. You can get it from the off-site center.”

Fukushima Daiichi Masao Yoshida, Fukushima Director (at the time) “Okay, I should write an IOU for this, right?”

Head Office Akio Komori, Managing Director (at the time) “No need. I’ll take your word for it.”

Fukushima Daiichi Masao Yoshida “Got it. Thank you.”

Narrator However, instructions to evacuate beyond 20km of Fukushima have already gone out. There were no shops open nearby.

Fukushima Daiichi Materials Team “We are working hard to procure [a battery] but our best chance is in Iwaki which is 6 hours away. We request your assistance, Head Office.”

Off-Site Center “Today we went to Iwaki to get a battery but couldn’t get one.”

Fukushima Daiichi Materials Team “Tomorrow we’re going to a home center to buy stuff. If there’s anything you want bring us a list or tell us… whatever… just come down.”

Narrator “It’s unbelievable that they would go shopping for supplies at a home center during the worst nuclear disaster in the world.”

Soon after both units 2 and 3 were said to have reached meltdown. Yoshida retired late last year, reportedly diagnosed with cancer and having suffered a brain hemorrhage which experts say are not related to radiation exposure.

Source: My Game News Flash (Japanese)


Categories: Health Technology News

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