Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has begun allowing journalists to view the 150 hours of recorded footage from inside the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant while last year’s crisis was developing. TEPCO, the utility responsible for managing the tsunami-struck plant, has refused to release any of the footage until now, but now that it is under the Japanese government’s control after a $12.5 billion bailout, it has been ordered to show the videos. The majority of the material is recorded teleconferences between the plant and TEPCO’s headquarters in Tokyo, but there are instances when a much deeper understanding of what went on are revealed.
One of the more extreme times of chaos and confusion is when a hydrogen explosion occurred in the numbers 1 and 3 reactors. Masao Yoshida, the Fukushima plant’s chief at the time, can clearly be heard shouting “This is serious! This is serious!” Yoshida can also be heard struggling with communicating to then Prime Minister Naoto Kan‘s office, as well as the government’s nuclear safety officials that provided information which didn’t match the developing crisis. Other serious problems highlighted include the lack of communication between the government and plant workers, as well as a complete lack of understanding about emergency procedures, and notifying the outside world about radiation leaks.
While the 150 hours of footage has been somewhat edited, and only one-third of it contains sound, there is clear evidence of the March 15th visit by Prime Minister Kan to the plant, in which all work came to a stop for close to 20 minutes while employees had to listen to him lecture. There is no sound for that time, and it was shot from behind, but it’s obvious Kan is upset and repeatedly raising his arms in frustration. Reports of the visit indicate that the prime minister yelled at the TEPCO officials for planning to abandon the plant, which was completely ungrounded, while Kan says he was there to get a better understanding of the situation and encourage the employees.
[via Huffington Post]