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Masao Yoshida, Director of Fukushima Daichii Nuclear Plant, Has Died 119

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the thanks-for-saving-the-countryside dept.
Doofus writes "Masao Yoshida, director of the Daichii Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, has passed away. Colleagues and politicos in Japan praised his disobedience during the post-tsunami meltdown and credited him with preventing much more widespread and intense damage. From the article: 'On March 12, a day after the tsunami, Mr. Yoshida ignored an order from Tepco headquarters to stop pumping seawater into a reactor to try and cool it because of concerns that ocean water would corrode the equipment. Tepco initially said it would penalize Mr. Yoshida even though Sakae Muto, then a vice president at the utility, said it was a technically appropriate decision. Mr. Yoshida received no more than a verbal reprimand after then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan defended the plant chief, the Yomiuri newspaper reported. "I bow in respect for his leadership and decision-making," Kan said Tuesday in a message posted on his Twitter account.'"
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Masao Yoshida, Director of Fukushima Daichii Nuclear Plant, Has Died

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  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @12:50PM (#44240385)

    In an emergency the on site staff should full control over what is going on.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      In an emergency the on site staff should full control over what is going on.

      u japanize?

      also, it was reported that it probably isn't radiation from the accident, as the illness is the type that would have had to mature for years if it was from radiation.

      that's not to say of course that there wasn't a covered up radioactive godzilla attack earlier!

  • Blame Fukushima (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Russ1642 (1087959) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @12:56PM (#44240493)

    Every case of cancer in Japan for the next 200 years is going to be blamed on Fukushima.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)
      Except they haven't in this case. Anyway, the damage is done: they're already backing away from clean relatively safe nuclear power.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Nuclear power isn't safe. It *could* be done safe, but not in a world of corporate greed and bought politicians and regulatory agencys.

        • by rossdee (243626)

          "It *could* be done safe"

          But not 100% safe on the coast of Japan which is subject to large earthquakes and tsunamis

          • Re:Blame Fukushima (Score:4, Insightful)

            by ericloewe (2129490) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @02:34PM (#44241971)

            100% safety is impossible anywhere.

            Fukushima would've been a non-issue as well if the backup generators had actually been logically placed.

            • Re:Blame Fukushima (Score:4, Informative)

              by AmiMoJo (196126) * <(mojo) (at) (world3.net)> on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @06:30PM (#44244701) Homepage

              Nope. Turns out that the earthquake damaged the cooling system so even with power it may not have worked. At the time they did actually get emergency cooling system on to the site but they failed to work because due to the damage caused by the tsunami they failed to notice that a bleed-off valve on the coolant pipe was open. They pumped in a lot of water with fire engines but most of it ended up in storage tanks instead of the reactor, leading to the eventual hydrogen explosions.

          • by rubycodez (864176)

            could have been done safely there too, in the U.S. generators for nuke power plants on great lakes are WAY up in the air, more than 30' off the ground and in rooms with floodproof doors and air intake through pipe in roof JUST IN CASE some incredible earthquake cause a tsumami-in-a-lake situation, which is so far fetched and absurd yet done anyway.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Define safe. I'll help you start. Safe is some arbitrary threshold that you have set where a piece of technology doesn't concern you. For example, you might think that riding a motorcycle without a helmet is not safe while flying in an airplane is safe. This is because you are not concerned about the risk, not because there is a 0% probability of a plane crash.

          The neat thing about this is that it can be measured! You can actually calculate the safety of different technologies. Now, what you need to do is de

          • by Fyzzler (1058716)
            My rule of thumb is to compare a risk to the chance of being hit by lighting. If it is lower than lightning, I don't worry about it. If it is higher, I take a closer look.
            • by Macgrrl (762836)

              According to a piece of trivia I read yesterday, where lightning strikes a person, it has a greater than 80% chance of hitting a man over a woman. It extrapolated that it may be due to men being more likely to indulge in risk-taking behaviour than women.

              • by Russ1642 (1087959)

                Men are on average 6" taller than women. Maybe that has something to do with it. That and, well, golf.

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          What is "safe"? Coal plants aren't safe. Petroleum isn't safe. Bicycles aren't safe. Solar power isn't safe.

      • Re:Blame Fukushima (Score:5, Informative)

        by AmiMoJo (196126) * <(mojo) (at) (world3.net)> on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @01:40PM (#44241197) Homepage

        Japan has a long history of anti-nuclear movements. Like most of the world it went off the technology when it turned out to be insanely expensive in the late 70s and 80s, but even in the hayday of the 50s and 60s there was a strong anti-nuclear movement.

        The cost of Fukushima has destroyed any hope of nuclear power ever being economical in Japan. No-one trusts TEPCO to run plants any more, no-one wants to invest in new nuclear, even energy companies don't want to take on the risk. What shareholder would back something that might ultimately destroy all profits and nationalize the company?

      • Re:Blame Fukushima (Score:4, Insightful)

        by citylivin (1250770) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @02:12PM (#44241681)

        "clean relatively safe nuclear power."

        I don't think I would consider "safe" any industry where an accident or malpractice could result in a place being uninhabitable for 10,000 - 100,000 years. It is immoral to saddle future generations with this burden, however slight you perceive the risk to be.

        Nuclear apologists need to wake up. Human error is always going to be a problem. Untill the world gets its act together and starts deploying more CANDU type reactors which by design cannot meltdown, I for one will still fight against nuclear power.

        You have an industry that deploys proven flawed designs from 40-60 years ago, and then runs the plants way longer than recommended lifetimes. The way the world currently does nuclear power, more accidents are inevitable.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by loshwomp (468955)

          Untill the world gets its act together and starts deploying more CANDU type reactors which by design cannot meltdown, I for one will still fight against nuclear power.

          The right time to fight against nuclear power is the day after the last coal plant shuts down, because back in the real world, when nuclear shuts down, coal replaces it (immediately!) nearly 1 for 1, and coal kills many, many more people even when it is working nominally. (Coal generation also releases much more radiation into the atmosphere.)

          Alternative energy proponents: Save it. I love 'em, too, and I back that up with the 7 kW of thermal and photovoltaics on my roof, but it doesn't change the fact th

          • Re:Blame Fukushima (Score:5, Informative)

            by AmiMoJo (196126) * <(mojo) (at) (world3.net)> on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @06:26PM (#44244653) Homepage

            Germany using more coal and gas has nothing to do with the shut down of nuclear plants. It is all to do with the very good feed-in tariffs for renewables making it hard for power companies to compete. They stop trying to use more expensive but cleaner forms of energy, including the remaining nuclear plants, and instead go for the cheapest options which are goal and gas.

            Renewables currently make up about 40% of Germany's energy mix, and 40% of that is individuals with solar PV. It's really impressive how much they have done in so little time, and it's because the feed-in tariffs really make investing in your own clean energy attractive. During a peak last year they got up to 60% purely renewable energy for a few hours, and power companies were actually having to pay to dump energy into the grid because they were producing too much. Germany also exports a lot of. energy.

            During this transition, which will last until about 2022, there is going to be more carbon emissions from coal and gas plants. At the end of it though Germany will be a majority renewable supply country and the need for coal and gas will be reduced to lower levels than before the nuclear shut-down. It takes time for the grid to be upgraded to support this, and it takes time for new forms of cleaner energy to come online. It's a huge project, but Germany is leading the world in many respects and will be the one making huge profits by exporting the technology and know-how in the next few decades.

            • by Raenex (947668)

              Renewables currently make up about 40% of Germany's energy mix, and 40% of that is individuals with solar PV.

              So what happens when the weather doesn't cooperate for a while and they need to meet peak load?

              • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

                Unless it becomes permanent night time and all the air is suddenly still for a day or two I don't think there will be a problem.

                • by Raenex (947668)

                  I've seen weather in my local parts where it has been cloudy with drizzle for 2 weeks straight. I can't imagine the solar panels would be doing much good at that point.

                  Trying to handwave away problems like this doesn't inspire much confidence.

                  • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

                    So what you are saying is that the weather outside your house makes it impossible for Germany to being doing what it is, in fact, doing? Germany must be faking it or something? It doesn't agree with your preconceptions so it can't be happening.

                    • by Raenex (947668)

                      I'm asking you about peak load when the weather doesn't cooperate. Germany has to handle it. That they get 40% when things are fine doesn't contradict my question.

                      Instead of facing reality, you want to handwave away the question. I'm not even saying it can't work, I'm asking how they deal with it.

                      Since you clearly don't have the answer and are living in a fantasy land where this isn't a problem, I looked up the answer myself. They rely on coal and gas to make up for shortfalls due to variability, the two pr

                    • by Raenex (947668)

                      Sorry, wrong link in my earlier post. Here's the correct one with the graphs: http://cleantechnica.com/2013/06/19/fossil-fuel-really-beginning-to-hate-renewable-energy-graphs/ [cleantechnica.com]

                    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

                      They do the same thing that France does when they need peak load and the weather doesn't co-operate so they have to shut down half their nuclear plants. They plan for it, of course.

                    • by Raenex (947668)

                      They make up for it with coal and gas, as I said. Trying to hide behind nebulous "they plan for it" is a copout.

                    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

                      I was agreeing with you. They have backup coal and gas, just like every country does. If France's nuclear plants are forced to idle they import electricity generated with coal and gas (and renewables now).

                      I'm not sure what your point is. All forms of energy need backup and that is usually goal or gas because those forms can ramp up fairly quickly. 99% of the time they are not needed though. What was the problem again?

                    • by Raenex (947668)

                      All forms of energy need backup and that is usually goal or gas because those forms can ramp up fairly quickly. 99% of the time they are not needed though. What was the problem again?

                      Where does this 99% figure come from? More handwaving? The problem is a matter of how much coal and gas will be needed after the promised land has been reached 10 years from now.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by drkoemans (666135)
          I'm just going to leave this here. Guess we shouldn't consider dams safe either.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vajont_Dam [wikipedia.org]

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morvi_dam_failure [wikipedia.org]

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by dissy (172727)

          So basically a technology that "resulted in a place being uninhabitable" thousands of times known as coal is perfectly OK in your book, and natural gas lifting which has done the same for roughly a hundred cities is also OK, but nuclear which has done this twice is Mr Evil?

          So your whole argument is 2 > 100 > 50000+ ?

  • by kaizendojo (956951) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @01:52PM (#44241381)
    But what he did was heroic. Especially in a society that empahsizes respect for superiors. In the US, we wouldn't think twice about second guessing a higher up if we thought there was an inherent risk but this is almost unheard of in the Asian culture. Anata ni keii, Yoshida-san.
    • by slew (2918) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @06:06PM (#44244431)

      But what he did was heroic. Especially in a society that empahsizes respect for superiors. In the US, we wouldn't think twice about second guessing a higher up if we thought there was an inherent risk but this is almost unheard of in the Asian culture. Anata ni keii, Yoshida-san.

      I find it ironic that often the celebrated hero of most stories is the singular person who undertakes the final risky, but ultimatly successful course of action to save the day in a tragic situation, where real unsung heros would be the many folks who make the sacrifices necessary to plan for and/or mitigate the tragic situations before they happen.

      Maybe this obsession for hollywood-style heros is why no heroes ever emerged that would have fought for emergency diesel supplies, or higher seawalls that might have prevented or reduced the scale of this disaster. Such heroes would likely have paid a big price for their second guessing and their sacrifice would likely have gone unrecognized.

      • AFAIK, that isn't irony, but what kind of "sacrifices" are you talking about? The word "hero" generally refers to somebody that chooses to act in the greater good despite a high risk or certainty of being seriously harmed in some way, but it *is* also applied in the rare cases where the person had to act against massive psychological pressure, as he did.

        Also, that ideal of a hero dates back to ancient times, and likely to the very first stories that early mankind told around the fire; it's not a "Hollywood

        • by slew (2918)

          The irony is that as director, he's likely to have been in the position to push for emergency generators safeguards (although maybe perhaps not the seawall as that happened during construction), but not having done so, he essentially created the situation for which he was deemed a hero.

          Perhaps he might have actually sacrificed some of his political brownie points with the Tepco upper management before this tsunami occurred and secured the funds/resources to build better protection for the generators (protec

    • by drolli (522659) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @07:02PM (#44245013) Journal

      > In the US, we wouldn't think twice about second guessing a higher up

      Obviously you have *not* read the report on the TMI incident

    • by guruevi (827432)

      In the US we would think twice about second guessing a higher up because of liability. If this happened in the US, the person pumping in the seawater would be liable for all the people that *thought* they got sick off the seawater vapors. If you just let the reactor blow up that person wouldn't be liable and with the way the corporations own the government, neither would the corporation be held liable, taxpayers would just pay for everything.

  • "clean relatively safe nuclear power." I don't think I would consider "safe" any industry where an accident or malpractice could result in a place being uninhabitable for 10,000 - 100,000 years. It is immoral to saddle future generations with this burden, however slight you perceive the risk to be. Nuclear apologists need to wake up. Human error is always going to be a problem. Untill the world gets its act together and starts deploying more CANDU type reactors which by design cannot meltdown, I for one w
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikiru [wikipedia.org]
    "Ikiru (..., "To Live") is a 1952 Japanese film co-written and directed by Akira Kurosawa. The film examines the struggles of a minor Tokyo bureaucrat and his final quest for meaning. The film is inspired by the Leo Tolstoy short story "The Death of Ivan Ilyich".[1] It stars Takashi Shimura as Kanji Watanabe. ... Inspired by her, Watanabe realizes that it is not too late for him and that he still can do something. He then dedicates his remaining time and energy to accomplis

  • Fine but I am getting the fuck out of here and it is on you.

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