TEPCO submits heavily redacted copy of Fukushima nuke accident manual – After seeking a guarantee of nondisclosure the day before

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A Diet science committee says it has received a heavily censored copy of a nuclear accident operating manual for the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant from Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO).

The House of Representatives Special Committee on Promotion of Science and Technology and Innovation had requested TEPCO submit two operating manuals — one each for accidents and severe accidents — through the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry (METI), but said Sept. 7 that it had received only the former document, which had itself been significantly redacted.

The panel, chaired by Hiroshi Kawauchi of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, said it needed the manuals and other pertinent documents on Aug. 26 to help probe the cause of the ongoing nuclear disaster, and has requested TEPCO to resubmit the manuals by Sept. 9.

The 6-page manual for nuclear accidents TEPCO did submit was divided into four sections, including “main item” and “shift supervisor (deputy shift supervisor).”

The document was, however, nearly unreadable because most of it had been blacked out.

Even those sections left visible had holes, such as one sentence that read: “When reactor pressure rises, stabilizes the pressure at (redacted) Mpa by using an emergency condenser and other techniques, and report.”

According to the METI’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), TEPCO submitted them to NISA on Sept. 2 after seeking a guarantee of nondisclosure the day before.

NISA rejected the utility’s request, but then simply delivered the TEPCO documents to the committee.

Sources said TEPCO defended the censored documents, saying they contain intellectual property and may cause problems concerning the protection of nuclear materials.

Committee Chairman Kawauchi said the blacked out documents “are extremely regrettable. If TEPCO refuses to resubmit the manuals in question, we will consider summoning TEPCO executives as unsworn witnesses.”

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