TEPCO communications were severed after evacuating critical workers from plant

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In this image made from footage taken by Tokyo Electric Power Co. via Kyodo News, white smoke rises from the No. 1 unit of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex in Okumamachi, northeastern Japan. (AP)
In this image made from footage taken by Tokyo Electric Power Co. via Kyodo News, white smoke rises from Fukushima Daiichi Reactor 1

For the better part of the last year and a half, TEPCO has been strongly criticized for allegedly attempting to evacuate all staff from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant only 3 days into the nuclear disaster which has continued to release radioactive materials directly into the atmosphere for the last 21 months. TEPCO has denied that it meant to evacuate all of the workers, and claimed that it always intended to leave the minimum necessary number of staff at the plant.

On March 14th, then Prime Minister Naoto Kan rejected a request from TEPCO to completely withdraw all of its emergency responders at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, and commanded them to continue attempts at bringing the disaster under control.  Kan reportedly told them: “You’re the only ones [to deal with this problem]. Retreating [from the power plant and its problems] is simply not an option. Be ready for anything. If you pull out now, that’ll be the end of TEPCO, period.”  Kan was so angry at the utilities request,that his voice could be heard from outside the meeting room.

According to the Kyodo news agency, one of its reporters overheard Kan saying to the company’s executives at TEPCO’s head office, “what the hell is going on?”

The next day, the situation spiraled even farther out of control and a massive explosion ripped apart the Unit 4 reactor building, and multiple fires were observed.  The Japanese government appears reluctant to divulge too much information about the situation for fear of causing panic.

New video footage released by TEPCO of the first days of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster have shown that TEPCO’s communications system staff evacuated from the nuclear power plant during the critical early hours of the crisis.

On March 16, 2011, the communications line between TEPCO’s head office in Tokyo and the on-site workers was cut off, but the emergency responders at Fukushima Daiichi were unable to deal with the problem because its communications staff had been evacuated.

The disconnection is thought to have been caused by the erroneous severing of the fiber-optic cables during work to restore a power substation in Fukushima prefecture.

Source: JiJi Press

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