TEPCO officials have been flushed and squirming lately. There are serious leaks from previously undisclosed underground pits and on three separate occasions TEPCO workers have been forced to shut down critical cooling systems at Fukushima Daiichi in response to invasions by small rodents and mice.
The utility has also had to acknowledge its own mistakes in preparing for tsunamis and its crippling culture of complacency related to other potential natural disasters. While TEPCO argues that the mistakes have been fixed and the complacency eradicated, they are still habitually slow to respond whenever their preparedness is questioned, leading many to believe that they are still very much affected by overconfidence.
Last week, officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency inspected the Fukushima Daiichi site. After concluding their investigation, they held a press conference on Monday and encouraged TEPCO to improve “essential systems”.
Additionally, TEPCO still is refusing to pay over ten-and-a-half billion yen for decontamination work around the Fukushima Daiichi site. They have continually argued that they are under no legal obligation and assume the costs are covered by taxpayers by the special measures law.
It is hard to imagine the process of getting TEPCO to pay for decontamination in the future will be much easier, but the estimated total decontamination cost is expected to steadily keep accumulating and easily exceed several trillion yen in the coming years. While the public has been regaled with discussions about safety culture and redundant safety systems, it has mostly just been talk and rhetoric, and there is no apparent newfound appreciation for questioning attitudes or lingering concern for evacuees who are still unable to return to their homes or restore their lives.
Source: The Japan Times
Source: Asahi Shimbun