In a stunning report by The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Director General Yukiya Amano fingers Japanese over-confidence and complacency among the main reasons why the country was unprepared to the Fukushima Daiichi disaster of 2011. As Sputnik News reports, Amano exclaimed "there was a widespread belief in Japan that Japanese nuclear power plants are very safe and there would never be a severe accident. This belief was one of the reasons why Japan was not well prepared for severe accident." Four years later, he hopes many have learned the painful lesson that "there can be no grounds for complacency about nuclear safety in any country."
The 240-page report assesses the causes and consequences of the accident triggered by a huge tsunami that followed a massive earthquake on 11 March 2011. It was the worst emergency at a nuclear plant since the Chernobyl disaster a quarter of a century earlier.
The preparation of the report on the Fukushima Daiichi accident, which is scheduled to be made public at the IAEA General Conference this September, involved some 180 experts from 42 IAEA Member States and several other organizations.
“The report represents an authoritative, factual and balanced assessment of what happened at Fukushima Daiichi that should also be accessible for a non-technical audience,” Mr Amano said.
“There can be no grounds for complacency about nuclear safety in any country. Some of the factors that contributed to the Fukushima Daiichi accident were not unique to Japan,” the Director General added.
“Continuous questioning and openness to learning from experience are key to safety culture and are essential for everyone involved in nuclear power. Safety must always come first.”
“Before the Fukushima Daiichi accident there was a widespread belief in Japan that Japanese nuclear power plants are very safe and there would never be a severe accident. This belief was one of the reasons why Japan was not well prepared for severe accident,” Yukiya Amano said at a press conference on the sidelines of the meeting of the Agency’s board of governors that kicked off Monday.
During the meeting, the IAEA governors are due to hear the final report on the Fukushima accident which is scheduled to be made public at the IAEA General Conference in September 2015.
Amano added that prior to the Fukushima disaster, the zones of responsibility of Japan’s nuclear regulative body and various relevant government offices were vague and often duplicated one another.
“After the Fukushima Daiichi accident there was a reform of the regulative body and the responsibility is more clearly defined. And the regulative authority is making the Japanese safety standards better meet the international standard,” Amano said.
He expressed hope that the governments of all the IAEA member states will draw lessons from the report on Japan’s nuclear disaster.
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Perhaps most stunningly, especially for those heading to the Tokyo Olympics in just a few years, according to Japanese authorities, cleanup efforts around Fukushima could take up to 40 years.