” Tokyo Electric Power Co. in 2008 recognized the “indispensable” need for countermeasures against a towering tsunami at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, but it ended up doing nothing, an internal document showed.
The document was disclosed on June 18 by TEPCO, operator of the Fukushima plant, at the request of its shareholders who have filed a lawsuit against the utility’s executives. The plaintiffs are demanding that company executives be held responsible for the nuclear crisis at the plant that was triggered by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
“It is indispensable for us to develop measures against a higher tsunami than currently estimated,” the document says.
The plaintiffs argue that the document proves that TEPCO executives at the time could foresee the possibility of a huge tsunami striking the nuclear plant. They say the utility in 2008 estimated a 15.7-meter tsunami could hit the plant based on earthquake predictions by a governmental organization.
But TEPCO said its 2008 estimate could not be “a factor that inevitably forced them to take concrete countermeasures because there were differences of opinion, even among experts, on how to estimate a quake.”
The in-house document was distributed during a TEPCO meeting held on Sept. 10, 2008, to discuss countermeasures at the Fukushima nuclear plant against earthquakes and tsunami.
Akio Komori, a managing executive officer and director of the plant at that time, attended the meeting.
The document says it is “difficult to completely deny” the government findings on a possible earthquake and tsunami, and that the company had “no choice but” to raise the maximum height in its estimates for tsunami.
According to the shareholders suing the TEPCO officials, the document includes a sentence that says, “This contains sensitive information and must be returned.”
In another document submitted to the Tokyo District Court by TEPCO in the lawsuit, the company says, “The (2008) document just mentioned the possibility of some sort of anti-tsunami measures required in the future and did not point out any specific risk of tsunami.” ”