Fukushima FOIA Docs 8: A Real Outrage

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This post is part of an on-going series originally posted at DailyKos and republished by Enformable with permission of the author.  Through the series the author highlights and comments on FOIA documents released by the NRC in response to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster.

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The Rest of the Story…

This installment of my series is about the more recent documents released to MA Congressman Ed Markey by the NRC in late October of last year, which led Markey to release a report this past weekend that has blown the lid off NRC in-fighting and threatens to explode the entire nuclear regulatory facade sky high. Think of it as The Mother of All Dirty Bombs.

From Reuters :

“The actions of these four commissioners since the Fukushima nuclear disaster has caused a regulatory meltdown that has left America’s nuclear fleet and the general public at risk,” said Markey, a Democrat.

 

Markey’s report:
Regulatory Meltdown: How Four Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners Conspired to Delay and Weaken Nuclear Reactor Safety in the Wake of Fukushima

Pertinent citation from page 19 of that report:

Early on in the emergency, Chairman Jaczko asked that Commissioners and their staffs stop going to the emergency operations center, because NRC staff who were charged with responding to the emergency instead found themselves spending too much time responding to Commission requests. Commissioners’ staffs complained amongst themselves about this, stating “and now that we supposedly can’t go to the Ops center we have to listen to spin control,”78 “I’m skeptical about [Chairman Jaczko’s] rationale,”79that the decision is “a real outrage.”80

I have noted many times in my choice of documents released to Lucas W. Hixson per his FOIA request earlier this year that the various divisions of NRC – as well as the Commissioners and their staffs – reflect several levels of incomprehensible powerlessness in the face of the worst nuclear disaster this planet has ever experienced. Now we are finding out why.

Markey’s report was scheduled to be released Monday, December 11, 2011, but the release was pushed up to Friday evening due to public release of complaints by the four named Commissioners to Barak Obama’s Chief of Staff [Bill Daley] on October 13th complaining about NRC Chairman Jaczko’s leadership during the crisis by Republican Congressman Darryl Issa on Friday. [Reuters coverage from Saturday] The four dissenting commissioners also signed a “sternly worded letter” to Jaczko on the same day [Oct. 13] to whine that the Chairman was displaying “intemperate and disrespectful behavior towards [your] fellow commission members” and calling that “completely unacceptable,” also released by Issa.

To deepen the deep skullduggery in all this drama, in August of this year several Republican Senators (the pro-nuke lobby’s bought-and-paid-fors) asked the Inspector General to launch an investigation into whether Jaczko actually had the authority he has under the law (and exercised) to even bother to declare the situation at Fukushima Daiichi to BE an “emergency,” therefore allow him to activate the emergency Ops-Center and take control of crisis management.

Ladies and gentlemen, dogs, cats, mice and rats… this situation is positively explosive all by itself, uncovering the NRC in-fighting between the “usual suspects” who serve one or the other of the regulatory agency’s dichotomous missions [safety versus promotion] and blowing the secrecy lid right on off the nuclear industry’s dirty dealings just like hydrogen and oxygen blew the entire Daiichi-3 containment building [literally] sky high. *Note, I use unit-3 because it was the MOX unit, and it blew up so damned badly that they found pieces of fuel rod assemblies more than a mile away. The complete breaches of all containment at Daiichi units 1, 2 and 4 didn’t make things any better.

So Markey went ahead and released his report Friday night instead of this morning. What we have here is a serious attempted coup d’etat in the executive agency tasked with protecting everybody (workers, the public, and future generations) from the notably nasty consequences of operating nuclear power in such a disrespectful manner that we’re all fucked for generations down the line. It must seriously effect the absolutely necessary oversight and management functions of the NRC in the midst of this drastic nuclear catastrophe with grave international ramifications that will be ongoing for at least 30 years, probably at least twice that long. All while our own 100+ nuclear power fleet of super-reactors have reached the end of their planned lifetimes and are being granted blanket 20-year extensions – by this same NRC – almost as if they’re disappointed that our nukes haven’t yet done as much damage as Chernobyl and Fukushima, and they just have to get some years to keep on trying.

It was inevitable that Fukushima would stress the worldwide nuclear industry so severely that we, the regular citizens of this planet, would get a desperately needed second chance to re-evaluate our untenable position BEFORE we’d wasted the little wealth we’ve got left on ten times as many nukes as are in operation in the world right now. We must make the right decisions, and we must be able to impose that will on governments and corporations for whom the nuclear cash cow has been instrumental in their march toward Fourth Reich style civilizational tyranny.  Fukushima was “Start Your Engines.” This brouhaha is the green flag, we’re off and running. Who wins?

…I hope we will win. I am not conditioned by my experience to automatically expect that we will. I will be popping off a communique to Markey’s staff (and maybe Greg Jaczko too) this week, promise to report here everything that may come of that. It wouldn’t hurt if everyone here fired off a short, sweet notation of support to Congressman Markey. He needs to know that he’s not out there blowing all alone. Something drastic MUST be done, sooner and not later.

Again, links below to the other posts to this series. If you click over to my diaries you can also get all the non-FOIA related reports on various nuclear emergencies and situations in this and other countries that have taken place since Fukushima did its Twisted Sister act last March. And that’s by no means all of ’em. We are in immediate, grave danger from the nuclear plants scattered widely about our planet. Some countries – including Germany, Italy and other EU members – decided months ago to suspend their nuclear commitments henceforth. Some have wisely shut down plants of the same designs as Daiichi’s. Major investor countries in the 2nd World have been forced to re-think their future plans for nukes (including Japan, Saudi Arabia and China). We’re going to have to do some serious re-thinking too. Greg Jaczko would dearly love to have that conversation. The rest of the highest levels of insider clout? …not so much. Too much money in the pockets of all involved.

Thanks for reading, please stay tuned for future installments in this ongoing drama. This is merely approaching climax, and there’s no reason to suspect there aren’t more plot twists in the offing.

 

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1 Comment

  1. None of the commissioner’s curriculum vitae indicate on-shift experience as a licensed nuclear power plant operator. I don’t know if such experience would have prevented Fukushima, but it would have made the NRC response less of a “Flail-A-Thon” because they would have understood all the details of emergency response. Commissioners need to have had “stick-time” to be effective.

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