We know today that during the disastrous meltdown at the Fukushima facilities, most of the nuclear plant workers, those highly trained individuals, bold and brave, willing to stay when everything is going wrong and a possible disaster threatens us all, when confronted with an actual nuclear disaster decided to take a day off and fled the scene.
Goodness! Does this call into question all those scenarios where the nuclear plant is in trouble and the steely eyed, workers (who will be played by Tom Cruise in the later film) work those controls, klaxons sounding in the background, and bring that reactor back from the brink?
The government and TEPCO kept this from their public and us until now. It’s embarrassing. After all, if you’ve telling a story of courage and stalwart endurance in the face of nation-wide danger, the revelation that the last ditch defenders against nuclear disaster were searching their pockets for car keys may be less than edifying.
If you think this constitutes an argument against nuclear energy, you’re right.Those systems designed to stop nuclear disaster aren’t all automatic. They need human guidance, and if the workers flee, only the thinnest of chances protects us from disaster.
Business Ethics Implications –
The workers violated their duty to their nation, friends and relatives by leaving their stations. It seems obvious that TEPCO, the utility company, did not properly prepare for the incident and its management handled the events poorly. The Japanese government and TEPCO have actively suppressed information regarding the incident and its aftermath.
If you are a student writing a paper about an incident in which a lack of business ethics actively contributed to the disaster, this is a good topic with abundant sources.
Panicked workers abandoned Fukushima as the nuclear disaster unfolded, report reveals
As a nuclear disaster began to unfold at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, a full 650 of the 720 workers on hand panicked and abandoned the scene, a previously undisclosed report reveals.
That’s a very different version of events than the one put forward by TEPCO, the plant’s operator, which has said that it evacuated most of its workers, leaving a small, dedicated team behind to risk their lives fighting to contain the crisis. …
When Duty Called,
They Did Not Hesitate,
They Ran Like Hell.
(my thoughts, not in the original article, jp)
The Japanese government confirmed the report, but did not explain why it had been kept secret. TEPCO countered only that Yoshida’s vague order to withdraw to “low radiation areas” technically could have referred to the No. 2 plant, and said that it therefore didn’t consider those workers to have violated orders.
That the plant experienced such a severe breakdown in its chain of command during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami becomes all the more relevant as the Japanese government moves to restart the country’s other nuclear reactors, which were temporarily shut down after the disaster. As the Asahi article notes, “Yoshida’s testimony raises questions about whether utility workers can be depended upon to remain at their posts in the event of an emergency.”
From Around the Web.
From the web site, Japan Safety, Nuclear Power Updates.
” Tokyo Electric Power Co. underestimated internal radiation exposure of 142 workers involved in immediate emergency operations at the damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011, according to Japan’s Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.
After reexamining exposure records provided by TEPCO, the Ministry said Tuesday it had increased the 142 workers’ radiation data by an average of 5.86 millisieverts, The Asahi Shimbun reported.
The Ministry said one male employee was exposed to 180 millisieverts. He was initially reported to have been exposed to around 90 millisieverts.
Two other workers were exposed to radiation of 50 to less than 100 millisieverts, the Ministry found.
According to the International Commission on Radiological Protection a person should be exposed to no more than one millisievert per year from all sources of radiation, though it says only doses of more than 100 millisieverts are associated with a higher risk of cancer.