Observatory on the nuclear crisis, May 2012

Japan’s Environment and Nuclear Minister Goshi Hosono, second from left, inspects the nuclear fuel pool of the Unit 4 at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, May 26, 2012.. Source: Toshiaki Shimizu, Japan Pool, via Cryptome.


Analysis Timeline:

  • Diet panel avoids asking tough questions about Fukushima disaster
    The hard questions that needed to be asked never got any airing by the Diet panel looking into last year’s nuclear accident. The Asahi Shimbun’s analysis.
    Asahi Japan Watch, May 29, 2012.

  • Kan blasts ‘nuclear village’ in dealing with Fukushima crisis
    Naoto Kan defended his actions as prime minister during the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, saying he was battling an industry that was behaving like the Imperial Japanese Army.
    Asahi Japan Watch, May 29, 2012.

  • Spent Fuel Rods Drive Growing Fear Over Plant in Japan
    What passes for normal at the Fukushima Daiichi plant today would have caused shudders among even the most sanguine of experts before an earthquake and tsunami set off the world’s second most serious nuclear crisis after Chernobyl.
    Hiroko Tabuchi and Mattew L. Wald, The New York Times, May 26, 2012.

  • Reform the Japanese power system. Nationalize Tepco.
    The Japanese government has agreed to inject huge amounts of capital into the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), keeping it in business as the primary vehicle for dealing with the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. This approach tells other Japanese utilities with nuclear plants they are too big to fail and leaves in place the Tepco corporate culture responsible for the accident. The Japanese government needs to fully nationalize and dismantle Tepco, taking direct control of responses to the Fukushima disaster and opening the utility’s transmission system to alternative energy producers.
    Kay Kitazawa, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May 25, 2012.

  • Preliminary Dose Estimation from the nuclear accident after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
    The earthquake and tsunami in Japan on 11 March 2011 led to releases of radioactive material into the environment from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear site. This report describes a preliminary estimate of radiation doses to the public resulting from this accident. These doses are assessed for different age groups in locations around the world, using assumptions described in the report.
    The dose assessment forms one part of the overall health risk assessment being carried out by WHO of the global impact of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The health risk assessment is the subject of a separate WHO report which will be published in Summer 2012.

    WHO, May 23, 2012.

  • Nuclear Meltdowns 200X More Likely Than Previously Estimated
    Catastrophic nuclear accidents such as the core meltdowns in Chernobyl and Fukushima are more likely to happen than previously assumed. Based on the operating hours of all civil nuclear reactors and the number of nuclear meltdowns that have occurred, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz have calculated that such events may occur once every 10 to 20 years (based on the current number of reactors) — some 200 times more often than estimated in the past.
    Science Blog, May 22, 2012.

  • Fukushima nuclear disaster: who profits and who pays?
    Last week, the inevitable finally happened. The company responsible for the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, has been nationalised. Japan’s trade and industry minister Yukio Edano announced a de facto state take-over of the company with a further injection of $12.5bn, bringing the total of state capital in TEPCO to $33.2bn.
    Jan Haverkamp, Greenpeace, May 21, 2012.

  • Fukushima Daiichi: The Truth and the Future
    As part of a presentation in Kansai, Japan on May 12th 2012, Maggie and Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education answered specific questions asked by symposium organizers regarding the condition of the spent fuel pool at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4. Fairewinds analyzes the explosion at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3. Also, Arnie discusses what the future may hold for Japan if it chooses a path without nuclear power.
    Maggie and Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds, May 12, 2012.

  • ANALYSIS: Japan’s energy policy has been governed by series of shocks
    Like a reluctant suitor vacillating between two ugly sisters, Japan has spent four decades shifting the balance of its power generation between nuclear and carbon fuels.
    Hisashi Hattori, Asahi Japan Watch, May 05, 2012.

  • Japanese energy policy stands at a crossroads
    Post-Fukushima, Japan’s government and public have turned away from nuclear power, but the energy industry has other ideas.
    Catherine Mitchell, Antony Froggatt and Shunsuke Managi, The Guardian, May 3, 2012.

  • Related pages:
    See also the analysis and news archive for 2012 and 2011.



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    About Backyard World

    Backyard World is an art and information architecture project on the Fukushima crisis. The project was started March 17, 2011.
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