Skip to main content

Fukushima plant operator: We weren't prepared for nuclear accident

From Chie Kobayashi, for CNN
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Wed June 20, 2012
The quake-damaged nuclear power plant in the town of Futaba, Fukushima prefecture, is shown in March 2011.
The quake-damaged nuclear power plant in the town of Futaba, Fukushima prefecture, is shown in March 2011.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: A TEPCO executive says a power outage caused delays in getting data
  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. announces its final report on the Fukushima Daiichi crisis
  • TEPCO vice president: We need to make improvements in disclosing information
  • A separate investigation by a government panel said operators were poorly trained

Tokyo (CNN) -- The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant admitted Wednesday that it was not fully prepared for the nuclear disaster spurred by last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

"All who were related to the nuclear plant could not predict an occurrence of the event which was far beyond our expectation," said Masao Yamazaki, executive vice president of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). "We did not have enough measures to prevent the accident."

Report: Japan to restart first nuclear reactors since Fukushima

Yamazaki, who also chairs a TEPCO committee investigating the disaster, spoke at a news conference announcing the company's final report on the crisis that spewed radiation and left tens of thousands of residents displaced.

The report acknowledged criticism that TEPCO took too long to disclose information and accusations that the company has been hiding information.

Anger over Fukushima suicide
Nuclear disaster spreads to houses, food
Japan tsunami debris hits U.S.

"Losing power caused less plant data (to be) available," which caused a delay in retrieving information, the report stated.

Residents call for criminal charges against nuclear officials

The company added, "We did not mean to hide information, but there was a lack of enough explanation."

"We recognize these points should be improved," Yamazaki said.

Though no deaths have been attributed to the nuclear accident, the earthquake and tsunami killed more than 15,000 people in northeastern Japan.

Yamazaki said the company considered evacuating some employees after the disaster, and it decided to leave staff members "who were working on the necessary measures. ... We were determined to continue dealing with the situation, even risking our lives at that time."

Evacuee's suicide sad reminder how Fukushima continues to claim victims

TEPCO's probe is one of several investigations into the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

In December, a government-formed panel of investigators released an interim report saying poorly trained operators misread a key backup system and waited too long to start pumping water into overheating reactor units.

The government's 10-member panel, led by Tokyo University engineering professor Yotaro Hatamura, also said neither TEPCO nor government regulators were prepared for the chance that a tsunami could trigger a nuclear disaster.

Former Japanese leader: 'I felt fear' during nuclear crisis

CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki, Matt Smith and Holly Yan contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 2:18 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT