Tokyo Electric Power Court “Seen New Facts” September 20, 22:56
September 19th. The date of the criminal trial that asks TEPCO's former management for the responsibility of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that caused unprecedented damage. There are three defendants: Tsunehisa Katsumata, former chairman (79), Ichiro Takeguro, former vice president (73), and former vice president Ei Muto (69).
The Tokyo District Court acquitted all of them, saying, “It is not possible to predict the occurrence of a huge tsunami”. The prominent trial that was started after the prosecution review committee consisting of ordinary citizens twice decided to “prosecute” and was forced to prosecute, ended with an acquittal sentence, not asking the individual's criminal responsibility. .
However, after 37 trials, "new facts" that were not known until now became clear. For example, one of the first nuclear power plants in the Tokyo metropolitan area, Tokai Daini Nuclear Power Plant in Ibaraki Prefecture, for the first time found that the nuclear power operated by Japan had already taken measures against a huge tsunami three years before the Great East Japan Earthquake. It is. Furthermore, it became clear that the people in charge at TEPCO were planning to take measures against the huge tsunami. "Is there really no way to prevent the nuclear accident caused by the tsunami?" The NHK news gathering team, which has continued to see the trial, analyzed the trial's testimony and materials, tried to contact the people concerned, and developed a report approaching the truth. (Tokyo Electric Power Criminal Court Interview Team)
Attention to the 23rd trial, Tokai Daini Nuclear Power Plant
The Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was attacked by a tsunami of about 15 meters, submerged an emergency power source for cooling the reactor, causing three reactors to melt down. According to the evaluation by the international standard indicating the seriousness of the accident, it was regarded as the most serious “Level 7” along with the Chernobyl nuclear accident, which was literally the worst nuclear accident in history.
This trial. Not only the cause of the nuclear accident, but also testimony and materials that lead to the background were revealed. In particular, I was shocked by certain facts shown at the 23rd trial on July 27, 2018. A former employee of Japan Atomic Power Company stood in court. It was the first time that the company had begun measures to prepare for a huge tsunami before the earthquake.
“Regarding the study of tsunami countermeasures, we will continue to consider countermeasures that take into account the tsunami (long-term evaluation)”
"Long-term evaluation" divided views
In 2006, NIPPONDENDEN started countermeasures against the giant tsunami, which was a safety re-evaluation, so-called “back check”, directed by NISA in that time. In addition to major earthquakes, electric power companies were obliged to take measures against “very rare but likely to occur” and “appropriate tsunamis”. What kind of tsunami is this “appropriate tsunami”? The response will vary among power companies.
There is an evaluation that became a focus when predicting the height of the tsunami. It was the so-called “long-term evaluation” that the government's earthquake research promotion headquarters showed in 2002. It is pointed out for the first time that a tsunami earthquake similar to the “Meiji Sanriku Earthquake” that occurred off Iwate Prefecture can occur anywhere along the Japan Trench off Sanriku to Boso. Based on this evaluation, many nuclear power plants will hit tsunamis that exceed conventional assumptions. This is a strict evaluation that requires additional measures for electric power companies.
However, because this “long-term evaluation” and areas where earthquakes have not been confirmed in the past were also targeted, some experts have objected. Whether or not to incorporate this “long-term evaluation”. In December 2007, TEPCO, Nippon Electric Power, Tohoku Electric Power and Japan Atomic Energy Agency, which have nuclear facilities on the Pacific coast, gathered.
We got the material at that time. In it, it was written that opinions were divided, such as “it can be saved if it is not considered” or “there is no material to deny”. At this time, the remarks of the person in charge of TEPCO were positive, saying “I have to take it in”. The fact that the civil engineering group in the field was actively promoting measures was revealed.
So why was TEPCO not taking measures to cope with the huge tsunami at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant during the Great East Japan Earthquake?
This question has gradually emerged from the testimony and coverage of the trial. The on-site staff began to consider measures based on long-term evaluation. The photo above is from TEPCO in February 2008. In addition to pump countermeasures based on long-term evaluations, it has been shown that the height of the tsunami that rushes to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant exceeds conventional assumptions.
It was also found that a more detailed evaluation could result in a larger tsunami. The person in charge at the site reported this content to an important meeting and decided to proceed with the discussion as a whole company. However.
"Your meeting". This conference was set up to deal with the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant that was damaged by the 2007 Niigata Chuetsu-oki earthquake. Later, the meeting was also involved in measures against other nuclear power plants such as earthquakes and tsunamis.
It was called the “Gozen Meeting” because President Katsumi, who was the top management at the time, participated, and about 40 people including executives such as the director of Takeguro headquarters and deputy headquarters director Muto were gathered together.
The people in charge of tsunami countermeasures wanted to confirm the intentions of executives whether they would incorporate long-term evaluations here.
This is because I realized that the front meeting was a place for making company's intentions and confirming a big direction. A former employee who once attended the meeting answered the interview.
“The official decision was made, of course, on the Board of Directors.
“If you were consulted at the presidency, then your boss would not be defeated.”
And the front meeting in February 2008. Finally, a document summarizing tsunami predictions and countermeasures was submitted. The person in charge on the site recalls that after the meeting, the boss who attended reported that there was no objection. I thought that the site was able to share the direction with the executives of the meeting. However, management's perception was not so.
Gap of recognition
During the trial, executives testified about this material.
Attorney: "Is the written content reported?"
Muto: “No, not reported”. “In the first place, this meeting is not a meeting to decide something. It was a place to share information.”
Executives did not remember reporting on materials submitted by field personnel.
Why is that? We interviewed former executives who were members of the conference. Then this answer came back.
“A lot of materials are submitted at a big meeting. I don't remember if I was told if I remembered every single project. It wasn't like a place to discuss something firmly.”
The person in charge who recognized that the measure was approved in the direction to proceed. Executives who were not. There was a discrepancy between the two.
"I lost my power unexpectedly"
After this, the discrepancy in recognition increases further.
The site where the direction was thought to have been recognized was proceeding with analysis and calculating the assumption that a huge tsunami of up to 15.7 meters would hit. Considering seawalls to prevent damage. A trial calculation that the construction takes several billion yen and takes about 4 years has started. The on-site personnel will communicate this result to the top of the Nuclear Power Division.
However, at that time, Takeguro Nuclear Power and Location Headquarters were busy and absent due to the earthquake in Kashiwazaki-Kariwa in Niigata Prefecture. Mr. Muto was deputy general manager.
The explanation to Mr. Muto was June and July 2008, a few months after the previous meeting that submitted the materials.
The forecast of a tsunami exceeding 15 meters was shown, but the people in charge at the site thought that it would be difficult to pass the national back-check examination unless measures were taken.
However, the person in charge witnesses that Mr. Muto's response was surprising.
“Since it was a conclusion that we hadn't expected from the situation before the examination, it seems that the easy-to-understand words have lost power. I don't remember the remaining minutes. "
Long-term evaluation that has been disputed by experts. Deputy General Manager Muto expressed his idea to ask the Japan Society of Civil Engineers for further consideration, because he suspected reliability.
Here is Mr. Muto's testimony.
“So far, we have confirmed safety (against tsunami) using the standards of the Japan Society of Civil Engineers. However, the government's earthquake headquarters made a different evaluation. Get answers about
The people in the field who received this as a certain conclusion. Immediately after the meeting, I got an email sent to a person in charge at the company or another power company. He said, “Immediate adoption of long-term evaluation is premature” and “Some conclusions of our company at the present time with management.”
But here too, the discrepancy in recognition becomes clear. At the trial, former deputy general manager Muto testified and argued as follows.
“I was a deputy general manager who had no decision-making authority, and it was not possible to decide big.”
TEPCO's countermeasures against tsunamis did not progress specifically, with the awareness between the field and executives shifting in-house as to who made the decision.
“First, what can I do?”
Tokai Daini Nuclear Power Plant is located in Ibaraki Prefecture, about 110 km south of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The first nuclear power plant in Japan with a power generation capacity exceeding 1 million kilowatts. It is operated by Japan Atomic Power, commonly known as Nippon Electric Power. Nippon Genden was a company created by the investment of electric power companies and was expected to introduce and develop new nuclear technologies.
From the trial, it became clear that Nippondenden had taken measures against the huge tsunami based on the “long-term evaluation” before the earthquake.
The 23rd trial last July. A former employee of Nippon Electric Power Company testified.
“Regarding tsunami countermeasure construction, we will continue to consider countermeasure construction in consideration of the Earthquake Promotion Headquarters (long-term evaluation).”
Nippon Electric Power materials we obtained through interviews. A measure based on a long-term evaluation was written as “Implemented by the end of FY2010”. It was the first time that Nippon Electric Power Company was taking measures to incorporate the long-term evaluation that TEPCO considered doubtful of reliability and asked the Japan Society of Civil Engineers to consider.
Why did you decide to incorporate a long-term assessment that would be expensive and time consuming? We tried to interview the people related to Nippon Electric Power. Then, it has become clear that there is a background that should be called the corporate culture of Nippon Electric Power.
“Nippon Nuclear Power owns only four nuclear power plants in Fukui and Ibaraki, which is a very small company compared to TEPCO. For that reason, there is a strong desire to stop the operation of nuclear power generation as a source of revenue as much as possible. If there is a risk, I would like to respond in advance and be safe even if a tsunami comes ”
“I think that the risk of tsunami coming someday was shared internally based on long-term evaluations, etc. The idea was to take measures that can be done first, and then proceed with large-scale construction in the future.”
In the Nippon Electric Power Company, there was no major objection to proceeding with measures based on long-term evaluation. It was found that the countermeasures were examined by a cross-organizational team called “seismic task”. Based on the long-term evaluation, the maximum expected tsunami from the Tokai Daini Nuclear Power Plant is 12.2 meters. It is the height that goes up to the building. The seismic tasks that various groups such as civil engineering, machinery, and architecture participated cross-cuttingly discussed the impacts and countermeasures that should be taken when the tsunami hits, based on their specialized knowledge.
The countermeasures summarized were those that implemented a combination of methods that could reduce costs without taking too much time. In place of creating a large seawall along the sea, embankment is implemented to weaken the power of the tsunami. In addition, the doors of the building were waterproofed to prevent water from entering the building. In addition, there is also a measure to re-install emergency generators in high places to prevent flooding.
TEPCO has begun to move, but ...
On the other hand, TEPCO requested a study from the Japan Society of Civil Engineers. August 2010, two years after that. Before the JSCE conclusion, somehow it will start to move. It was triggered by knowing that measures based on long-term evaluation were advanced at Nippondenden. Stakeholders look back.
“I felt that my boss had a lot of sense of crisis, or that TEPCO ’s review was far behind, and I had to go ahead with measures.”
Here, TEPCO also established a cross-sectional working group in which each department participated. Then, the study on the countermeasures against the huge tsunami and the concrete measures such as the waterproofing measures for the building began to proceed.
However, on the way. That day will come. March 11th. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was hit by a tsunami of about 15 meters, and the reactors melted down one after another.
The person in charge of the field who tried to take measures against the feelings at the time of the accident testified as follows at the trial.
“You say you were very disappointed, I remember being shocked.”
"Did you think that it was possible to do something? Naturally, I was worried for the rest of my life whether it was an individual, a group, something, regulation, TEPCO, or where it was wrong. It ’s a point. ”
The April meeting scheduled by the working group was not held.
Nippon Electric Power Company has advanced measures. But new facts
On the other hand, this trial also raised structural challenges for the entire power industry.
Nippon Electric Power Company was promoting advanced measures based on "long-term evaluation". However, for some reason, these efforts were not disclosed outside the company. It has become clear that the industry's “side-by-side consciousness” has become an obstacle when interviewing to find out why.
Documents from a meeting of four companies gathered in 2008 that NHK acquired. It was written that the four companies, including Nippon Electric Power Company, agreed that there was no problem with the TEPCO policy requested to be examined by the Japan Society of Civil Engineers.
Furthermore, it was also found during the trial that Nippondenden was trying not to notice that the country was taking measures based on a “long-term evaluation”.
A document of a secret question-and-answer collection presented in a trial. Despite an estimate that the tsunami would run up to the building, the material stated that it would not go up.
Furthermore, it was said that the countermeasure work was only "voluntary" for "emergency".
Why did I have to hide it so far? Former coverage of Nippon Electric Power Company responded to the interview on condition that we were anonymous.
“The principle is to take measures while considering other electric powers. The custom of promoting things while taking into account TEPCO is the norm. Once you take measures, other electric power companies However, it is a ripple that must be taken to improve the safety of residents and local governments.
Electricity is an important infrastructure that supports life and economic activities. Electricity is required to provide the same service nationwide, and power companies have been keeping pace with various measures and responses under the organization of the Federation of Electric Power Companies.
TEPCO is the largest and leader in the industry. Each company says its intention cannot be ignored.
However, such a system and way of thinking may have prevented the advancement of efforts from being made public.
If it is publicized, the country and local government may be informed, and there may be more opportunities and environment to take additional measures against tsunamis at the nuclear power plant. It was an interview that felt strongly that it was necessary to solve the structural problems of the industry in order to face natural disasters that would not occur when they happened.
Change culture and customs to increase safety
A number of facts that have not been known until now, as seen from 37 trials.
We asked Mr. Hiroshi Tasaka, professor emeritus at the Graduate School of Tama University, who was also the representative of the think tank and was also involved in the response to the nuclear accident in Fukushima as a member of the Cabinet Secretariat.
“When nuclear power plants have an accident, the impact is tremendous. For that reason, electric power companies are required to be more aware of safety and efforts than other industries. On top of that, safety is technical safety and cultural safety. As you can see, most nuclear accidents in the world are due to lack of cultural safety, such as human error and organizational judgment failure, for example, TEPCO is a private company. It can be difficult to explain to shareholders, etc., whether it is possible to spend huge amounts of money on uncertain risks, which is difficult to understand.It is necessary to consider whether private companies can really keep the nuclear power plant safe. It is also necessary for governments and regulatory agencies to closely monitor the safety of electric power companies, while in Japan the regulations are close to the electric power industry. At NISA, it became a challenge: the regulation and the electric power company are completely separated, the matter of course in the US needs to be thorough in Japan, and the industry is side by side. In terms of safety, it is not as good as the highest standard, but as low as it is, whether it seems safe or reliable when the public sees this. But I think the structural and cultural safety is still high, and I am worried that there will be a major nuclear accident again if we don't take this point seriously while the restart is underway. ”
The criminal trial in the Tokyo District Court is over. However, there are a vast amount of new testimony and materials presented at trial. What is necessary to get one step closer to safety and security? We are ready to continue our coverage.