Socialist Worker

Fukushima - a history of nuclear failure

Issue No. 2243

The first reactor at Fukushima began commercial operation in March 1971.

Just four years later, corrosion cracks showed up on the reactor.

January 1989: A pump at one of the reactors experienced “abnormal vibrations”.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company took six days to shut the plant down.

Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission described the firm’s handling of the incident as “sloppy”.

February 1993: A high pressure steam accident killed one worker and injured two others.

There were other accidents in June 1997 and October 1999.

July 2000: The site was hit by an earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter Scale. It shut down after radioactive water leaked.

2002: This was the year of Fukushima’s major scandal. The Tokyo Electric Power Company faced 29 allegations of falsifying safety reports about the plant. The company was accused of covering up cracks detected at a number of its plants, most at Fukushima. General Electric had conducted the false reports.

February 2003: Tepco faced fresh allegations of violating its own safety measures.

The number one reactor at Fukushima shut for almost three years. It reopened in July 2005—only to shut down again less than a month later when a radioactive leak was discovered.

Fukushima saw more emergency shutdowns in October 2005 and February 2006.

June 2008: An earthquake led to five gallons of radioactive water to leak out.

Fukushima’s reactor number one has a 40-year license—due to expire on Saturday of next week. The Japanese government has given no sign of closing it down.


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