NRC: The Confusion of Fukushima

Agency officials found reliable information was scarce and “there was confusion and communication problems” in the first hours after Fukushima lost power.

NRC_SealRelying on information from Japanese officials, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko told Congress last year that a spent-fuel pool at Japan’s crippled Fukushima plant was dry. It wasn’t true.

More than 3,000 pages of transcripts released by the NRC show the agency was struggling to assess the severity of Japan’s nuclear disaster, even as it gave the White House a recommendation for U.S. citizens to evacuate within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the damaged reactors.

The transcripts highlight what Jaczko called the “fog of war” as the agency responded to the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 25 years. The agency’s information about developments, provided by local officials, news media and Tokyo Electric Power Co., owner of Fukushima Dai-Ichi, created a chaotic environment where details weren’t always accurate.

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Source: Brian Wingfield | Bloomberg Businessweek
Image: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission