On 18th Jun, Kaieda, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, announced that "Safety Checks" were complete and nuclear power stations currently suspended are safe to resume their operation.
Many of Prefectural Governors were outraged by the subsequent request to resume the operations of nuclear power plants. Governor Hashimoto of Osaka went as far as saying "we should have the ministry moved to Fukusima."
The points made by the governors et al are as follows:
i. 3.5 months on, Fukushima is FAR from being resolved. From what we see, you're not capable of dealing with another nuclear accident.
ii. We don't even know the mechanism of Fukushima accident - therefore what the problems were. What makes you think you can safeguard against those problems?
iii. What Fukushima has proven is that both our safety standard and the regulatory bodies who manage them are totally inadequate. In fact, you're trying to reorganize them in a hurry. How could they possibly have the authority to decide what's safe?
It indeed was the heavily criticized regulatory bodies who carried out the Safety Check. And you got what you'd expect.
The contents of the Safety Check, which took 11 days to complete from its initiation, had the aim of measuring the preparedness of power plants against severe accidents. The regulatory bodies first requested the electric companies to report (based on their self-inspection) on following five points then performed inspection.
i. Measures to secure a workable environment in the central control room. ii. Measures to secure communication means within the site during blackouts. iii. System and structural development for radiation control. iv. Measures against hydrogen explosions. v. Allocation of heavy machinery to remove rubble.
According to the report by the ministry, they ticked the box for item i. as long as they had an emergency generator to supply power to the central control room.
Apparently, as long as they have an emergency generator the air-circulation system with a filter should be able to make the Central Control Room workable. If you remember, they said as long as we had emergency generators, they can keep on cooling the reactors, but the generators were destroyed by the tsunami. Just having the generator, or electric companies saying "yep we've ordered one already," to me does not at all ensure a workable environment. Have they even specified how good this "filter" has to be? What if the Control Room got super radioactive and the filters weren't good enough? What kind of radiation levels were they supposing?
As for iv., "yep, we have a drill to make a hole on the roof and got one of our chaps to practice drilling a hole using a hand drill" was good enough an answer. OK, think Fukushima, again. How the fuck are you gonna send a chap with an electric drill up there on the roof of the reactor building? Are you telling me they were able to do that during 11th-18th March?
If a hole on the roof of the reactor building was good enough to prevent a hydrogen explosion, why is TEPCO now trying so hard to put nitrogen into reactor #3? Reactor building of #3 no longer exists.
Honestly! These people must seriously think as long as they have enough bullet-points on their power-point presentations, we'll buy what they claim!!