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It is evident that the upper levels (how deep?) of TEPCO's management structure are clueless.

That is my sense, and I have trouble understanding how, in a company that has relied on nuclear for so much of its baseload for forty years can have an upper management that is so clueless. It leads me to think that decapitation of TEPCO and assumption of the whole utility by the Japanese Government might be a good idea. Don't there have to be some competent individuals down at the plant level?

And it is obvious that Japan will have to continue to rely on nuclear for the next decade, at a minimum. So they must learn how better to respond to possible  future emergencies and to make appropriate preparations to harden their other facilities. Since so many facilities are near the sea, they need to be able to assure prompt resumption of back-up power after another "once in a century" earthquake/tsunami. Having generators and fuel on secure high ground and having pads, pylons, cables, fresh water, contaminated water storage capability, pipes, pumps, etc. available on or near the site should enable them to resume power within a day or two even with a tsunami such as they experienced.

Part of the problem may reside in the federal/provincial  structure of Japan. It seems that power provisions have been made on the provincial level, some having 50 Hz and others 60Hz power. This might be complicating a take-over by the central government. Japan had, essentially, a feudal political organization until the Meiji Reformation. While the feudal structure was replaced with a central state I do not know how the divisions between central and local government were carried out. I suppose, in some ways, the early zaibatsu could be seen as a modernization of feudal structures. How that played into federal/regional divisions I have no idea.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 07:56:49 PM EST
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ARGeezer:
Since so many facilities are near the sea, they need to be able to assure prompt resumption of back-up power after another "once in a century" earthquake/tsunami. Having generators and fuel on secure high ground and having pads, pylons, cables, fresh water, contaminated water storage capability, pipes, pumps, etc. available on or near the site should enable them to resume power within a day or two even with a tsunami such as they experienced.
It seems they're working on that already

ceebs:

Gov't orders utilities to prepare for tsunami with more backups | Kyodo News
The industry ministry ordered utility companies Wednesday to act within a month to prepare for a possible loss of power at their nuclear reactors when hit by unexpectedly large tsunami waves, as concerns are growing over the safety of nuclear power plants following the March 11 quake that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi complex.

They are instructed to secure vehicle-mounted power sources, deploy fire trucks that would supply water to the reactors, work out a procedure on how to deal with an emergency situation by using such vehicles, and carry out drills.

The measures are part of efforts to prevent a recurrence of the ongoing nuclear crisis at the plant in northeastern Japan, where the power grid and most of the emergency diesel generators were knocked out by the magnitude-9.0 quake and ensuing tsunami, resulting in the loss of the reactors' key cooling functions.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda said that the emergency measures are the ''first step''

We've become so used to craven governments that I can't help feeling that, when I see the Japanese government doing the right things, I'm just responding to PR or engaging in wishful thinking.

For the future, it is important to restore the credibility of governments' claims to be acting in the public interest. One of the most toxic legacies of the Reagan/Thatcher revolution will be the erosio of the idea of the common interest or that collective institutions can exist that effectively work for the common interest. Enlisting and empowering competent people into government and civil service positions is a necessity.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 1st, 2011 at 04:48:07 AM EST
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