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 Table of Contents  
REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 135-142

Fukushima Daiichi - 2011 : Nuclear disaster : Lessons learned : Where we stand in India


1 Emergency Specialist, Medical Department, Reliance Industries Limited, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Group Medical Advisor, Medical Departmet, Reliance Industries Limited, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication20-Mar-2014

Correspondence Address:
Hitesh N Shah
Emergency Specialist, Medical Services (Mumbai), Reliance Industries Ltd, 2nd Floor, Maker Chamber IV, 222 Nariman Point, Mumbai - 400 021, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2347-9019.129136

Rights and Permissions
  Abstract 

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was an energy accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, initiated in greatest part by the tsunami portion of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011. The damage caused by the tsunami produced equipment failures, and without this equipment a Loss of Coolant Accident followed with nuclear meltdowns and releases of radioactive materials beginning on March 12. It is the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 and the second disaster (along with Chernobyl) to measure Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), releasing an estimated 10-30% of the radiation of the Chernobyl accident. This event, in the long-term could have a tremendous impact on the health of the population, environmental impact, food and water, and long-term health issues. Assessment of lessons learned and reviewing it in the context of Indian nuclear safety measures and the way forward. The health impact assessment (HIA) of the nuclear disaster in relation to humans, food, water, and environment is also reviewed. Several Reports from various agencies, like International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Japanese Government Report, World Health Organization (WHO), and others, from 2008 onwards data were retrieved and studied, following which a synopsis was drawn. Several lessons learned from the disaster management of the event were drawn. The Indian nuclear safety and liability scenario was also studied in the same context. The current status of the Indian Nuclear Programme, and the Nuclear Liability Act Section 17 was reviewed. The HIA of the disaster, which includes the general population, environment, aquatic life, food, and water was also reviewed. The international domain shows several lacunae in the safety measures. The most important basic principle in securing nuclear safety is "defense in depth". A gap analysis for all the aspects of Fukushima disaster was done pertaining to the design, emergency preparedness. The Indian nuclear safety measures in various plants have been found to be reasonable but need to be upgraded. HIA needs to be in place and risk mitigation measures need to be assessed

  1. There are several lessons learned in the field of health and safety.
  2. There is a need for more closer and constant correspondence between the end-user country and operators around the world to ensure higher safety standards.
  3. Also damage control measures for HIA need to be reviewed. In nutshell Fukushima Daiichi 2011 was an "eye opener" for the entire world in the area of nuclear safety and nuclear disaster management.

Keywords: Emergency management, health impact assessment, nuclear disasters


How to cite this article:
Shah HN, Rallapali R. Fukushima Daiichi - 2011 : Nuclear disaster : Lessons learned : Where we stand in India. Int J Health Syst Disaster Manage 2013;1:135-42

How to cite this URL:
Shah HN, Rallapali R. Fukushima Daiichi - 2011 : Nuclear disaster : Lessons learned : Where we stand in India. Int J Health Syst Disaster Manage [serial online] 2013 [cited 2021 Sep 17];1:135-42. Available from: https://www.ijhsdm.org/text.asp?2013/1/3/135/129136


  Introduction Top


The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was an energy accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, initiated in greatest part by the tsunami portion of the Tτhoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011. The damage caused by the tsunami produced equipment failures, and without these equipment a Loss of Coolant Accident followed with nuclear meltdowns and releases of radioactive materials beginning on March 12. It is the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 and the second disaster (along with Chernobyl) to measure Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), releasing an estimated 10-30% of the radiation of the Chernobyl accident.

This event in the long-term could have a tremendous impact on the health of the population, environmental impact, food and water, and long-term health issues.

Following a nuclear explosion there are generally two levels of damages;

  • Acute radiation syndrome (ARS), also known as radiation poisoning, radiation sickness or radiation toxicity, is a constellation of health effects which present within 24 h of exposure to high amounts of ionizing radiation. The radiation causes cellular degradation due to damage to DNA and other key molecular structures within the cells in various tissues; this destruction, particularly as it affects ability of cells to divide normally, in turn causes the symptoms. The symptoms can begin within 1 or 2 h and may last for several months
  • Chronic effects on health, flora and fauna, environment, psychological, and social.


Fukushima also known as Fukushima Daiichi (dai-ichi means "number one"), is a disabled nuclear power plant located on a 3.5 km 2 (860-acre) site in the towns of Okuma and Futaba in the Futaba District of Fukushima Prefecture.

Okuma; in 2010, the town had a population of 11,515. The town is the site of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Futaba; as of 2003, the town had an estimated population of 7,406.

The plant comprised six separate boiling water reactors originally designed by General Electric (GE) and maintained by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). At the time of the earthquake, reactor 4 had been defueled and reactors 5 and 6 were in cold shutdown for planned maintenance. Immediately after the earthquake, the remaining reactors 1-3 shut down the sustained fission reactions automatically, inserting control rods in what is termed the SCRAM, (Safety control rod axe man, a scram or SCRAM is an emergency shutdown of a nuclear reactor).

Following this, emergency generators came online to power electronics and coolant systems.

The tsunami arrived some 50 min after the initial earthquake. The 14 m tsunami overwhelmed the plant's seawall, which was only 10 m high, quickly flooding the low-lying rooms in which the emergency generators were housed.

The flooded diesel generators failed, cutting power to the critical pumps that must continuously circulate coolant water through a Generation II reactor for several days to keep it from melting down after shut down. After the secondary emergency pumps (run by backup batteries) ran out, one day after the tsunami, the pumps stopped and the reactors began to overheat due to the normal high radioactive decay heat produced in the first few days after nuclear reactor shutdown (smaller amounts of this heat normally continue to be released for years, but are not enough to cause fuel melting).

As workers struggled to cool and shut down the reactors, a number of hydrogen-air chemical explosions occurred, the first in Unit 1, on March 12 and the last in Unit 4, on March 15 leading to leakage of radioactivity.

The overall negative health effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster include a moderately increased risk of thyroid cancer (a comparatively rare form of cancer) for girls from the most contaminated area, and a slightly increased risk of other cancers for infants from the most contaminated area. In particular, a 2013 World Health Organization (WHO) report predicts that there is a 70% higher risk of developing thyroid cancer for girls exposed as infants in the most contaminated area, a 7% higher risk of leukemia in males exposed as infants in the most contaminated area, a 6% higher risk of breast cancer in females exposed as infants in the most contaminated area, but only a 4% higher risk, overall, of developing solid cancers for females.

In early 2013, the WHO released a comprehensive health risk assessment report which concluded that, for the general population inside and outside of Japan, the predicted health risks are small and that no observable increases in cancer rates above background rates are expected.


  Materials and Methods Top


Several reports from various agencies, like International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Japanese government report, WHO, as listed in the references. From 2008 onwards data were retrieved and studied, following which a synopsis was drawn. Several lessons learned from the disaster management of the event were drawn. The Indian nuclear safety and liability scenario was also studied in the same context. The current status of the Indian Nuclear Programme, and the Nuclear Liability Act Section 17 was reviewed.

The health impact assessment (HIA) of the disaster, which includes the general population, environment, aquatic life, food, and water was also reviewed.


  Results and Discussions Top


The international domain shows several lacunae in the safety measures. The most important basic principle in securing nuclear safety is "defense in depth". The Indian nuclear safety measures in various plants have been found to be reasonable but needs to be upgraded.

HIA assessments needs to be in place and risk mitigation measures need to be assessed. The various aspects considered are as follows:

Health effects

Physical

  • The WHO report 'Health risk assessment from the nuclear accident after the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami, based on preliminary dose estimation' noted, however, that the estimated risk for specific cancers in certain subsets of the population in Fukushima Prefecture has increased and, as such, it calls for long-term continued monitoring and health screening for those people
  • There were no deaths and acute radiation syndrome causalities caused by radiation exposure, while approximately 18,500 people died due to the earthquake and tsunami
  • In particular, a 2013 WHO report predicts that there is a 70% higher risk of developing thyroid cancer for girls exposed as infants in the most contaminated area, a 7% higher risk of leukemia in males exposed as infants in the most contaminated area, a 6% higher risk of breast cancer in females exposed as infants in the most contaminated area, but only a 4% higher risk, overall, of developing solid cancers for females
  • No increase is expected in the incidence of congenital or developmental abnormalities, including cognitive impairment attributable to within the womb radiation exposure
  • As a point of comparison, thyroid cancer incidence rates after the Chernobyl accident of 1986 did not begin to increase above the prior baseline value of about 0.7 cases per 100,000 people per year, until 1989-1991, 3-5 years after the accident in both the adolescent and children age groups; therefore, data from Chernobyl suggests that an increase in thyroid cancer around Fukushima is not expected to begin to be seen until at least 3 to 5 years after the accident.


Psychological effects

  • In the former Soviet Union many patients with negligible radioactive exposure after the Chernobyl disaster displayed extreme anxiety about low level radiation exposure, and therefore developed many psychosomatic problems, including radio phobia, and with this an increase in fatalistic alcoholism being observed
  • Summarizing all responses to questions related to evacuees' current family status, one-third of all surveyed families live apart from their children, while 50.1% live away from other family members (including elderly parents) with whom they lived before the disaster. This was due to movement of the nearby population
  • The survey also showed that 34.7% of the evacuees have economic losses since the outbreak of the nuclear disaster. A total of 36.8% reported a lack of sleep, while 17.9% reported smoking or drinking more than before they evacuated
  • Experts on the ground in Japan agree that mental health challenges are the most significant issue. Stress, such as that caused by dislocation, uncertainty, and concern about unseen toxicants, often manifests in physical ailments, such as heart disease. So even if radiation risks are low, people are still concerned and worried. Behavioral changes can follow, including poor dietary choices, lack of exercise, and sleep deprivation; all of which can have long-term negative health consequences
  • People, who lost their homes, villages, and family members, and even just those who survived the quake, will likely continue to face mental health challenges and the physical ailments that come with stress. Much of the damage was really the psychological stress of not knowing and of being relocated.


Impact on seafood safety of the nuclear accident in Japan

  • Some seafood in the direct vicinity of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station has been found to be contaminated at levels above the regulatory limits set by the Japanese Government, and control measures were in place to prevent its distribution. The normal levels are as mentioned in the table below
  • Radionuclide contamination, if any in seafood outside these areas, will be significantly below any public health concern, even in Pacific islands with high seafood consumption
  • Any additional radiation levels will contribute only a small amount to natural background radiation exposure.


Air releases

  • Iodine-131
  • Tellurium-129m
  • Cesium-137 (Cs-137)
  • Strontium 90
  • Plutonium isotopes


Normally these emissions are in very negligible doses almost absent in air.

Water releases

TEPCO estimated that 520 tons of radioactive water leaked into the sea.

Radiation at the plant site

Exposure of workers

  • Originally there were approximately 800 workers on 11 March 2011, the day the earthquake and tsunami struck. On 15 March, workers deemed nonessential were withdrawn by the TEPCO. A total of around 750 workers left due to increased risk and consequently left around 50. It was on this day that the media started to call the remaining workers the "Fukushima 50"
  • Seventeen workers (of which 14 were from plant operator TEPCO) had been exposed to levels of over 100 mSv. By 29 March, the number of workers reported to have been exposed to levels of over 100 mSv had increased to 19.


Prior to the accident, the maximum permissible dose for Japanese nuclear workers was 100 mSv/year.

Site contamination

Soil

TEPCO have reported at three sites 500 m from the reactors that the Cs-134 and Cs-137 levels in the soil are between 7.1 and 530 kBq/kg of undried soil.

The legal limit is 10 kbq/kg.

Discharge to seawater and contaminated sea life

  • At 100 m south of the discharge channel of units 1-4, elevated levels of Cs-137, Cs-134, and I-131 were seen. As of October 2012, regular sampling of fish and other sea life off the coast of Fukushima showed that total Cs levels in bottom-dwelling fish were higher off in Fukushima than elsewhere, with levels above regulatory limits, leading to a fishing ban for some species. Cs levels had not decreased 1 year after the accident
  • A year after the disaster, in April 2012, sea fish caught near the Fukushima power plant still contain as much radioactive 134 Cs and 137 Cs compared to fish caught in the days after the disaster.


Air exposure within 30 km

  • The zone within 20 km from the plant was evacuated on 12 March, while residents within a distance of up to 30 km were advised to stay indoors
  • IAEA reported on 14 March that about 150 people in the vicinity of the plant "received monitoring for radiation levels"; 23 of these people were also decontaminated. From 25 March, nearby residents were encouraged to participate in voluntary evacuation.


Radiation exposure in the city of Fukushima

  • It turned out that 99% had not been exposed to more than 0.3 mSv in September 2011, which is nontoxic.


Disposal of radioactive ash

  • Due to objections from concerned residents it became more and more difficult to dispose of the ashes of burned household garbage in and around Tokyo. The ashes of waste facilities in the Tohoku, Kanto, and Koshinetsu regions were proven to be contaminated with radioactive Cs. According to the guidelines of the Ministry of Environment, ashes radiating 8,000 Bq/kg or lower could be buried Ashes with Cs levels between 8,000 and 100,000 Bq should be secured, and buried in concrete vessels.
  • A survey was done on 410 sites of waste-disposal facilities, on how the ash disposal was proceeding. At 22 sites, mainly in the Tokyo metropolitan area, the ashes with levels under 8,000 Bq could not be buried due to the objections of concerned residents. At 42 sites, ashes were found that contained over 8,000 Bq of Cs, which could not be buried. The ministry made plans to send officials to meetings in the municipalities to explain to the Japanese people that the waste disposal was done safely, and to demonstrate how the disposal of the ashes above 8,000 Bq was conducted.


Lessons learned

GAP analysis

•Plant Design

  • The most obvious being that in tsunami prone areas, a power station's sea wall must be adequately tall and robust enough. An example of just how important this can be was exemplified at the Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant, up the coast from Fukushima Daiichi and therefore closer to the epicenter of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. At this power station the sea wall was 14 meters tall and successfully withstood the vast majority of the impact of the tsunami, preventing the serious damage and radiation releases that occurred at Fukushima. No government mandate required Onagawa's operators to build the sea wall to this height; they simply thought it was a good idea
  • Following the accident nuclear power station operators around the world began to install passive autocatalytic hydrogen recombiners ("PARs"), which do not require electricity to operate. PARs work much like the catalytic converter on the exhaust of a car, and turn potentially explosive gases, like hydrogen gas into harmless water. Had Fukushima had such hydrogen gas Recombiners positioned at the top of its reactor and containment buildings, where hydrogen gas most likely collects, the devastating hydrogen gas explosions would not have occurred and the releases of radioactive isotopes would arguably have been much less
  • The installation of power-free filters on containment building vent lines has also been suggested, for example, in the event that radioactive isotopes are emitted from the reactor or spent fuel pool, the filters would safely catch radioactive materials and thereby allow reactor core depressurization and steam and hydrogen venting, while also minimizing environmental radiation emissions
  • In generation II reactors in flood or tsunami prone areas like those at Fukushima I, a 3+ day supply of backup batteries has become somewhat of an industry standard following the accident
  • Also advised along with this is hardening the location of backup diesel generator rooms with the type of water tight and blast resistant doors, and heat sinks, commonly used by nuclear submarines. The oldest operating nuclear power station in the world, Beznau Nuclear Power Plant, which has been operating since 1969, has a 'not stand' hardened building designed to support all of the power plants systems independently for 72 h if in the event an earthquake or severe flooding hit the power station, this system was built prior to Fukushima by the reactor operators without regulation or government directive forcing them to
  • Upon a station blackout, which occurred after the backup battery supply at Fukushima ran low, many already constructed generation III reactors have been built along the principle of passive nuclear safety, and therefore take advantage of convection (hot water tends to rise) and gravity (water tends to fall) to ensure an adequate supply of water to provide cooling, and do not require large electrical pumps to cool the residual reactor decay heat
  • The emergency generators and the reactors need to be at the same level, which was tempered by the TEPCO, and hence the emergency shutdown happened when the room was flooded with water. Had they been at a higher lever as the reactors. This disaster might have been averted.


·Emergency preparedness and response gaps

  • Government agencies and TEPCO were thoroughly unprepared for the "cascading nuclear disaster". The tsunami that began the nuclear disaster could and should have been anticipated and that ambiguity about the roles of public and private institutions in such a crisis was a factor in the poor response at Fukushima.
  • Poor communication and delays: The Japanese government has admitted it did not keep records of key meetings during the Fukushima nuclear crisis, even though such detailed notes are considered a key component of disaster management.
  • Japan's response to the crisis at Fukushima Daiichi was flawed by "poor communication and delays in releasing data on dangerous radiation leaks at the facility".
  • Evacuation drills: In Japan each fiscal year a prefecture, that has nuclear power-stations on its territory, is legally due to hold nuclear accident disaster drills. How to evacuate the population out of the 10-km evacuation zone according to the governmental anti-disaster guidelines. The Fukishima Daiichi accidents proofed this 10 km a big underestimation of the evacuation zones that would be really needed to protect the population of the prefecture from escaping radiation in a proper way.


Three prefectures-Aomori, Fukushima, and Ibaraki-were unable to hold the drills before March 2012. Six prefectures, including Hokkaido and Fukui, had not taken a decision to hold a drill, and were awaiting new governmental guidelines how far to evacuate. Four other prefectures, including Ehime and Saga, planned to hold drills by establishing temporary guidelines and by expanding evacuation zones on their own.

•Safety measures required

The most important basic principle in securing nuclear safety is:

"Defense in depth" is a military strategy; it seeks to delay rather than prevent the advance of an attacker, buying time and causing additional casualties by yielding space. Rather than defeating an attacker with a single, strong defensive line, defense in depth relies on the tendency of an attack to lose momentum over a period of time or as it covers a larger area. A defender can thus yield lightly defended territory in an effort to stress an attacker›s logistics or spread out a numerically superior attacking force. Once an attacker has lost momentum or is forced to spread out to pacify a large area, defensive counter-attacks can be mounted on the attacker's weak points with the goal being to cause attrition warfare or drive the attacker back to its original starting position.

In the same light when a nuclear disaster strikes, there should be systems in place to reduce the impact of the disaster. Some of which are mentioned below.

•Strengthen preventive measures against a severe accident.

  • Strengthen measures against earthquakes and tsunamis, like design safety, frequency of occurrences, and legislations on operations
  • Ensure power supplies
  • Ensure robust cooling functions of reactors and pressure control valves (PCV)
  • Ensure robust cooling functions of spent fuel pools
  • Thorough accident management (AM) measure
  • Response to issues concerning the siting with more than one reactor
  • Consideration of nuclear power systems (NPS) arrangement in basic designs
  • Ensuring the water tightness of essential equipment facilities.


•Enhancement of response measures against severe accident

  • Enhancement of measures to prevent hydrogen explosions, like measures pertaining to the building design, neutralization measures
  • Enhancement of containment venting system.
  • Improvements to the accident response environment
  • Enhancement of the radiation exposure management system at the time of the accident.
  • Enhancement of training responding to severe accidents
  • Enhancement of instrumentation to identify the status of the reactors and PCVs
  • Central control of emergency supplies and equipment and setting up rescue team.


•Enhancement of nuclear emergency responses.

  • Responses to combined emergencies of both large-scale natural disasters and prolonged nuclear accident
  • Reinforcement of environmental monitoring.
  • Establishment of a clear division of labor between relevant central and local organizations
  • Enhancement of communication relevant to the accident
  • Enhancement of responses to assistance from other countries and communication to the international community
  • Adequate identification and forecasting of the effect of released radioactive materials
  • Clear definition of widespread evacuation areas and radiological protection guidelines in nuclear emergency.


•Reinforcement of safety infrastructure.

  • Reinforcement of safety regulatory bodies.
  • Establishment and reinforcement of legal structures, criteria, and guidelines.
  • Human resources for nuclear safety and nuclear emergency preparedness and responses
  • Ensuring the independence and diversity of safety systems
  • Effective use of probabilistic safety assessment (PSA) in risk management.


  • Thoroughly instill a safety culture. Following the defense in depth principle as above.



  Where We Stand In India Top


Currently in India we have

  • Twenty operational nuclear plants
  • Seven under construction
  • Twenty more planned till 2020.


2008

The IAEA Board of Governors approved by consensus a Nuclear Safeguards Agreement with India, calling for application of IAEA safeguards to Indian civilian nuclear facilities India Specific safety agreement 2008 for seven civil nuclear reactors.

2013

Visit by IAEA chief who welcomed India's intention to make further use of such international peer review services in the future.

Severe Accident Management Guideline (SAMG) issued post Fukushima.

The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010 or Nuclear Liability Act is a highly debated and controversial Act which was passed by both houses of Indian parliament. The Act aims to provide a civil liability for nuclear damage and prompt compensation to the victims of a nuclear incident through a no fault liability to the operator, appointment of Claims Commissioner, establishment of Nuclear Damage Claims Commission, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

The Act effectively caps the maximum amount of liability in case of each nuclear accident at 5 billion (US$77 million) to be paid by the operator of the nuclear plant, and if the cost of the damages exceeds this amount, special drawing rights up to 300 million will be paid by the central government.

Clause 17

This clause deals with the legal binding of the culpable groups in case of a nuclear accident. It allows only the operator (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL)) to sue the manufacturers and suppliers. Victims will not be able to sue anyone. In reality, no one will be considered legally liable because the recourse taken by the operator will yield only 15 billion (US$230 million) or 1,500 crores.

Comparison of Fukushima and Chernobyl nuclear accidents

Fukushima

Location: Japan

The date of the accident was March 11, 2011, with a INES Level 7, the plant commissioning date was 1971 with 40 years of operation before the accident; it was a boiling water with containment vessel type of reactor with the number of reactors being six, four (and spent-fuel pools) involved in accident and the amount of nuclear fuel in reactors was 1,600 tons.

Cause of the accident

Loss of cooling system due to earthquake and tsunami destroying power lines and backup generators, leading to meltdown. Failure to plan for total loss of off-site power and backup power with the radiation released being 900 PBq into the atmosphere in March 2011, alone up from previous estimates of 370 PBq total. Radiation continues to be released into the Pacific via groundwater, as of 15 September 2013.

Area affected

Radiation levels exceeding annual limits seen over 60 km (37 miles) to northwest and 40 km (25 miles) to south-southwest, according to officials with an exclusion zone area 20 km (30 km voluntary) and population relocated was 300,000.

Direct fatalities from the accident

Two crew members (gone to inspect the buildings immediately after the earthquake and before the tsunami) due to drowning. With no related deaths.

Long-term health damage

Not yet known, but risks to human health are yet to be ascertained as the disaster happened in 2011.

Current status

Cold shutdown declared on 16 December 2011, but decommissioning will take 10 years.

Chernobyl

Location: Soviet (Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic)

It happened on April 26, 1986, with an INES scale of 7, the plant was commissioned in 1977, with 9 years of operation before the accident. It was a graphite moderated reactor without containment and the reactors involved were four, one involved in accident.

Cause of the accident

Faulty design leading to instability at low power, along with poor safety culture, leading to prompt criticality and steam explosion during an improvised experiment. With exclusion zone of 30 km and area up to 500 km (310 miles) away was contaminated.

Direct fatalities from the accident

Sixty-four confirmed deaths from radiation as of 2008, according to the United Nations (UN).

Long-term health damage

Among the residents of Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, there had been up to the year 2005 more than 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer reported in children and adolescents who were exposed at the time of the accident, and more cases can be expected during the next decade.

Compensation payments

•The Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund

  • The president of TEPCO Toshio Nishizawa said that his company hoped to avoid capital injections from the Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund, a foundation of the Japanese government. TEPCO would need financial aid from this fund to be able to pay the huge compensation payments due to the nuclear disaster at its Fukushima nuclear power plants.
  • TEPCO might claim in October 2011 the sum of 120 billion yen of government compensation for the nuclear accident, this is the maximum amount set by a contract between the government and TEPCO. Compensation payments to people and companies that suffered damages through the crisis at that date already exceeded 150 billion yen. These compensation payments could rise up to 4.54 trillion yen (around 59 billion US dollar) by March 2013.
  • At January 2013 TEPCO announced, that it needed more money to be able to pay compensations to the victims. At that moment the cost were estimated at 3.24 trillion yen ($38 billion), up 697 billion yen since March 2012, when the last calculation was made. In October 2011, 7 months after the disaster the first assumption had been 1.1 trillion yen. Since then, TEPCO received already 1.5 billion yen financial aid, but the cost tripled. Besides the compensation costs, TEPCO would need some 10 trillion yen to dismantle the reactors and cleaning up the radioactive polluted areas.


•Compensation criteria for former residents of the evacuation zones;

In February 2012 new restitution standards were set by the Japanese government center for settling disputes over compensation for nuclear accidents for the ongoing Fukushima nuclear crisis.

TEPCO was ordered to pay:

  • To every person that was told to leave its home in accordance with official evacuation advisories.
  • 100.000 yen per month


After 7 months this amount should not be halved, as initially was planned.

•To all people that evacuated on their own initiative:

  • The costs of transportation
  • The costs of accommodation expenses in excess of the amounts listed by the interim guidelines set by the government's Dispute Reconciliation Committee for Nuclear Damage
  • 400,000 yen for children and expecting mothers
  • 80,000 yen for all others.


TEPCO is also required to pay compensation for any damage caused by the nuclear disaster to properties in evacuation zones, even without on-site checks to confirm the properties' conditions.

The government of prefecture Fukushima was notified that in some areas the former residents would not be permitted to return, because there was no prospect that decontamination could be completed in any foreseeable future.

Settling the claims filed by evacuees about compensation, proved to be very difficult. Because TEPCO did refuse to respond to victims' claims, that their residences and other properties were worthless after the crisis. From 900 claims filed less than 10 claims were settled at the end of February 2012, despite all efforts of more than 150 lawyers, mediators, and inspectors.


  Conclusion Top


Certain important questions from the India perspective need to be mentioned, they are as follows:

  • There have not been any nuclear disasters in India so far, but what is the level of emergency preparedness in case of such nuclear disasters?
  • There are no reports available for the same, neither are there any mock drill reports of the same. There is a mention of the some basic management protocols by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).
  • In case of nuclear disasters affecting any of the reactors, are the local government medical centers or hospitals in the area, equipped, in terms of manpower and equipment to handle such nuclear disasters.
  • Are the local medical personnel trained adequately to handle such patients affected by nuclear disasters.


The above questions need to be addressed at the earliest, if we have to be prepared for any unexpected event.

There is a need for more closer and constant correspondence between the end-user country and operators around the world to ensure higher safety standards. Also damage control measures for HIA needs to be reviewed.

In a nutshell, Fukushima Daiichi 2011 was a "wake up call" for the entire world in the area of nuclear safety and nuclear disaster management. It is high time that all concerned take appropriate measures to prevent a repeat of Fukushima.


  Further Reading Top


Electronic Sources as reference

  1. Negishi M. "Japan raises nuclear crisis severity to highest level". Reuters; 2011.
  2. "Radiation exposed workers to be treated at Chiba hospital". Kyodo News. 25 March 2011. Available from: [Last retrieved 2011 Apr17].
  3. "Analysis: A month on, Japan nuclear crisis still scarring" International Business Times (Australia). 9 April 2011, retrieved 12 April 2011; excerpt, According to James Acton, Associate of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, "Fukushima is not the worst nuclear accident ever but it is the most complicated and the most dramatic. This was a crisis that played out in real time on TV. Chernobyl dinot."
  4. Black R. "Reactor breach worsens prospects". BBC Online [Last retrieved 2011 Mar 23].
  5. Available from: http://www.world nuclear.org/info/Country Profiles/Countries G N/India/[Last accessed date on].
  6. Fukushima Factsheets.


Articles in journals

  1. "Fukushima accident upgraded to severity level 7". IEEE Spectrum; 2011.
  2. "IAEA Update on Japan Earthquake" [Last retrieved 2011 Mar 16].
  3. Lipscy PY, Kushida KE, Incerti T. The Fukushima disaster and Japan's nuclear plant vulnerability in comparative perspective. Environ Sci Technol 2013;47:6082 8.
  4. "Explainer: What went wrong in Japan's nuclear reactors". IEEE Spectrum; 2011.
  5. Frank N. von Hippel (September/October 2011 vol. 67 no. 5). "The radiological and psychological consequences of the Fukushima Daiichi accident". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. p. 27 36.
  6. Maschek W, Rineiski A, Flad M, Kriventsev V, Gabrielli F, Morita K. "Recriticality, a Key Phenomenon to Investigate in Core Disruptive Accident Scenarios of Current and Future Fast Reactor Designs". IAEA and Institute for Nuclear and Energy Technologies (IKET). Unknown parameter.
  7. "OECD Timeline for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident."
  8. "Fukushima nuclear accident update log, updates of 15 March 2011". IAEA; 2011.
  9. World Health Organization "Global report on Fukushima nuclear accident details health risks", World Health Organization; 2013.
  10. Kakodkar A, Grover R. Nuclear Energy in India, The Nuclear Engineer; 2004;45, 2.
  11. Kakodkar A. 2007 Statement to IAEA General Conference, Sept; 2007.
  12. Kakodkar A. 2008, managing new nuclear power paradigm, IAIF August; 2008.




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  In this article
Abstract
Introduction
Materials and Me...
Results and Disc...
Where We Stand I...
Conclusion
Further Reading

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