Inaccurate reports of the radiation damage from the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) along with inadequate manpower to deal with the crisis have resulted in poor attempts to reverse the radiation damage that resulted from the meltdown of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following the March 2011 tsunami. Toshiba, Hitachi and General Electric, manufactured the tanks developed to hold radioactive fluids back in the 1970s, and they are responsible for the facility’s poor design, according to a lawsuit filed by lawyers on behalf of 1415 plaintiffs, including 38 residents of Fukushima and 357 persons from outside Japan.
A senior advisor of the Fukushima cleanup, Barbara Judge, says that foreign assistance in dealing with the nuclear cleanup is needed; however, TEPCO has withheld accurate radiation readings of the leaks, making foreign assistance impossible. The resulting poor cleanup efforts have damaged eco-systems around Fukushima without proper supportive action to repair them.
Japan’s Fisheries Research Agency tested sea life south of the facility and found radiation levels in the fish at 124 times more than the threshold considered safe for human consumption. These findings—one basis for the class action lawsuit against Hitachi, Toshiba, and General Electric—have further tarnished TEPCO’s reputation. Japanese Government legislation has kept the situation in Fukushima under wraps, and the public is largely unaware of the nuclear power industry’s irresponsible actions.
“Fukushima: Landmark Lawsuit filed against General Electric, Toshiba and Hitachi,” News Network and Broadcasting Collective (NSNBC) International, January 30, 2014, http://nsnbc.me/2014/01/30/fukushima-landmark-lawsuit-filed-general-electric-toshiba-hitachi.
Faith Aquino, “Senior Advisor for Fukushima Cleanup says Foreign Assistance Needed”, Japan Daily Press, October 17, 2013, http://japandailypress.com/senior-adviser-for-fukushima-cleanup-says-foreign-assistance-needed-1738025.
Student Researcher: Alfredo Rivas (San Francisco State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University)