How well do you sleep, if you live a hundred miles from a nuclear power plant? "Regulatory capture" is the pattern among nuclear agencies, not just in Japan.
The conclusion of a report of a Japanese parliamentary panel issued last week that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster was rooted in government-industry “collusion” and thus was “man-made” is mirrored throughout the world. The “regulatory capture” cited by the panel is the pattern among nuclear agencies right up to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“The Fukushima nuclear power plant accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and Tepco [Tokyo Electric Power Company, the owner of the six Fukushima plants] and the lack of governance by said parties,”...
“They effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents. Therefore, we conclude that the accident was clearly ‘man-made,’” said the report...
“We believe the root causes were the organizational and regulatory system that supported faulty rationales for decisions and actions,” it went on. “Across the board, the commission found ignorance and arrogance unforgivable for anyone or any organization that deals with nuclear power.” It said nuclear regulators in Japan and Tepco “all failed to correctly develop the most basic safety requirements.” [emphasis mine]
We don't live that far from the Byron Nuclear Plant in Illinois...
Karl Grossman of The Huffington Post weighs in:
...the nuclear regulatory situation in Japan is the rule globally.
In the United States, for example, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and its predecessor agency, the Atomic Energy Commission, never denied a construction or operating license for a nuclear power plant anywhere, anytime. The NRC has been busy in recent times not only giving the go-ahead to new nuclear power plant construction in the U.S. but extending the operating licenses of most of the 104 existing plants from 40 to 60 years -- although they were only designed to run for 40 years. That's because radioactivity embrittles their metal components and degrades other parts after 40 years, potentially making the plants unsafe to operate. And the NRC is now considering extending their licenses for 80 years.
But isn't "Regulatory Capture" also the real cause of the economic crises, the LIBOR scandal, etc? What Grossman says
The "pus that pervades Japanese society" is international.
I think, "Not just in nuclear power!" Hedge Fund/Banker/Lobbyist "puss" oozes through politics in the developed and developing world too, sinking ordinary folks deeper into powerless servitude to the 1%.
Regulatory capture extends far beyond the nuclear industry. For example
The State Department's recent conclusion that the Keystone XL pipeline "is unlikely to have a substantial impact" on the rate of Canada's oil sands development was based on analysis provided by two consulting firms with ties to oil and pipeline companies that could benefit from the proposed project.
The former mayor of a town near the disabled Fukushima nuclear plant accuses Japanese government of endangering children and TEPCO workers.
Compared with Chernobyl, radiation levels around Fukushima “are four times higher,” he told RT’s Sophie Shevardnadze, adding that “it’s too early for people to come back to Fukushima prefecture.”
“It is by no means safe, no matter what the government says.”
Idogawa alleges that the government has started programs to return people to their towns despite the danger of radiation.
“Fukushima Prefecture has launched the Come Home campaign. In many cases, evacuees are forced to return. [the former mayor produced a map of Fukushima Prefecture that showed that air contamination decreased a little, but soil contamination remains the same.]"
According to Idogawa there are about two million people residing in the prefecture who are reporting “all sorts of medical issues,” but the government insists these conditions are unrelated to the Fukushima accident. Idogawa wants their denial in writing.
This is killing children. They die of heart conditions, asthma, leukemia, thyroiditis… Lots of kids are extremely exhausted after school; others are simply unable to attend PE classes.
... Prime Minister Abe frequently mentions the Japanese word, “omotenashi,” which literally means that you should “treat people with an open heart.”
In Idogawa’s opinion, the same treatment does not apply equally to the people most intimately connected with Fukushima: the workers involved in the cleanup operations.
“Their equipment was getting worse; preparation was getting worse. So people had to think about their safety first. That’s why those who understood the real danger of radiation began to quit. Now we have unprofessional people working there.
They don’t really understand what they’re doing. That’s the kind of people who use the wrong pump, who make mistakes like that.
We need to admit that actually many people are dying. We are not allowed to say that but TEPCO employees also are dying. But they keep mum about it.”
Asked about other options that Japan has for providing energy sources to its 126 million people, he responded that despite having many rivers, the government neglects to promote hydro energy.
Why? Because it’s not “profitable for big companies!”