Report: February 27th, 2012
Fairewinds concludes that Fukushima Daiichi was not just a nuclear accident; rather, for decades it was a nuclear accident waiting to happen. Flaws in the GE Mark 1 containment design were well known for four decades. The likelihood of seismic/tsunami events far worse than the Fukushima Units were designed to withstand were well understood for more than 20 years.
Against this prophetic backdrop, Tokyo Electric, Japanese regulators, and international nuclear organizations turned a blind eye toward these obvious warnings and continued to operate the reactors. Indeed, Japanese regulators relicensed Fukushima Unit 1 to operate beyond its initial 40 year design life one month before the accident while ignoring seismic/tsunami warnings.
Fukushima Daiichi is not unique. These same nuclear regulatory institutions oversee other reactors in Japan, and indeed worldwide. Fairewinds concludes that truly independent worldwide nuclear reactor regulatory institutions do not exist, setting the stage for similar accidents somewhere else in the world.
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