Fukushima bosses ordered to pay billions for failing to prevent nuclear disaster

The Chemical Engineer, by Adam Duckett, 18 July 22,

FOUR former bosses of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have been ordered by a Tokyo court to pay ¥13trn yen (US$94bn) in damages for failing to prevent disaster at the site in 2011.

The lawsuit was filed by shareholders in 2012 and is the first to find former executives of utility company Tepco liable for compensation. Kyodo News reports that the presiding judge said the utility’s countermeasures for the tsunami “fundamentally lacked safety awareness and a sense of responsibility,” ruling that the executives failed to perform their duties.

A huge earthquake knocked out power supply to the plant and triggered a tsunami thought to measure as high as 15 m. This easily washed over the 5.5 m seawalls designed to protect the plant, flooding key infrastructure, including the backup diesel generators that had kicked in to power the cooling of the reactors.  Without this power, the three units operating at the plant melted down, the reactor pressure vessels were breached, and radioactive material was released into the environment.

The trial focused on whether the management had taken appropriate decisions on how to manage the risk of tsunami after a Tepco unit estimated in 2008 that a tsunami measuring up to 15.7 m could strike the plant based on a Government analysis published in 2002, Kyodo News reports. The former executives’ lawyers argued that the assessment lacked reliability. The court disagreed and said the Government’s assessment obliged the company to take measures. It ruled that the decision not to act was “extremely irrational and unforgivable”.

The four executives found guilty include former Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, former President Masataka Shimizu, and former vice presidents Sakae Muto and Ichiro Takekuro. The sum they have been ordered to pay is well beyond their personal wealth, but they are expected to pay as much as their assets allow. A fifth defendant, former Managing Director Akio Komori, was found not liable for damages……………. more https://www.thechemicalengineer.com/news/fukushima-bosses-ordered-to-pay-billions-for-failing-to-prevent-nuclear-disaster/

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