"It's not our business"

Written by  Urs Fitze (Text), Werner Stuber (Photo)

The nuclear disaster in Fukushima Daiichi was the result of irresponsible behaviour on the part of the operating company Tepco and the government regulators. But still, they don't like to talk about responsibility.

The nuclear disaster in Fukushima Daiichi was the result of irresponsible behaviour on the part of the operating company Tepco and the government regulators. Tepco considered it unnecessary to prepare for a power failure at the nuclear power because the authorities had excluded it as a possibility. Today the company emphasises transparency, reports on the progress of the clean-up efforts, which will last for decades to come, and is otherwise faithfully following the government's instructions. For all intents and purposes, the company has long belonged to the state, which arguably is responsible for a majority of the expected costs needed to address the catastrophe, estimated in the amount of 200 million euros. This corresponds to around 50 annual profits of Tepco. On a closer inspection, the government behaves remarkably cautious despite all the propaganda and disregard of the fears of the population. To be sure, the government's policy objectives are defined, and they consider nuclear energy "an important part of the energy supply" based primarily on economic considerations. The calculations may seem cynical as they present nuclear energy as the cheapest source of energy – excluding the cost of disaster management. But concrete implementation is tackled with remarkably little persuasion, as though the government wants to shirk away from a final position. And so the government leaves the decision on restarting the nuclear power plants to the nuclear regulators and the courts. Their scope of interpretation is large enough than an operating licence can be denied not only on technical legal considerations but on basic ones as well, for instance, if the court reaches the conclusion that the security measures were inaccurate and an accident can't be ruled out, which a single judge actually decided in two cases. An official from a lobbying organisation, who declined to be named, gets to the point: "We would all like to know how it will go on."

Zum Weiterlesen:

Naoto Kan, former Prime Minister of Japan: "Draw a 250-kilometre radius in Europe some time."

Anonymous, Worker in Fukushima-Daiichi: "Working under extreme conditions"

Katsutaka Idogawa, former mayor of Futaba: "I am not giving up"

Kyoko Oba, Economist and Sociologist: “Ethics of accountability and responsibility”

 

 

 

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