– Official wept at prime minister’s office: “I’m sorry, we’ve tried… but we are in a situation beyond our control” at Fukushima — Hours Later: “People’s blood ran cold”… “Huge hole” suspected to have opened up in No. 2 Reactor (ENENews, Aug 25, 2014):
Kyodo News, Aug 25, 2014:
- An official of [TEPCO] wept at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo as the utility felt it had exhausted all options to prevent the worst from happening
- “I’m sorry. We’ve tried many things, but we are in a situation beyond our control,” [said a TEPCO official]
- Explosions at the Nos. 1 and 3 reactor buildings [had occurred and they were] facing fears of a reactor containment rupture
- 7:30 p.m. on March 14, TEPCO’s Managing Director [said] “things could get crazy”
- A dull sound reached the emergency response office at about 6:14 a.m.
- People’s blood ran cold as they heard from reactor operators that the pressure inside the No. 2 reactor’s suppression chamber… dropped to zero
- “The suppression chamber might have got a huge hole. A hell of a lot of radioactive substances could come out,” [said a lead TEPCO worker]
- [Fukushima Daiichi plant chief] Yoshida instantly decided it was time for evacuation.
In the hours and minutes before pressure dropped to zero at Unit 2, officials were frequently discussing plans to evacuate the plant, according to Kyodo’s report:
- TEPCO Director on Mar. 14 at 7:30 pm: “Please start setting the criteria for evacuation”
- [TEPCO vice president] ordered his subordinates at the head office to craft an evacuation plan, while… [Plant chief] Yoshida started arrangements to secure buses
- TEPCO President… phoned [officials] many times to seek approval of staff withdrawal, which he called an “evacuation”
- Prime Minister Naoto Kan: “If people withdraw, the eastern part of Japan will be destroyed … It doesn’t matter if senior officials in their 60s go to the site and die. I will also go.”
Talk of evacuation wasn’t the only thing being heard at the plant during this time span: ‘China Syndrome’? Former Japan Official: Underground rumblings heard in Fukushima plant area night of March 14, 2011 — “Caused by melted fuel underground” (VIDEO)
Book by the Independent Investigation Commission on the Fukushima Nuclear Accident (2014): Operators at the site [were] facing a nightmare scenario… workers’ efforts to address the situation… were stymied by the sheer impossibility of the situation… the prime minister and several top Cabinet officials had feared serious high-risk dangers… they had not at all disclosed to the public… rising pressure in unit it reactor containment vessel, which, they knew, could lead to a possible explosion that would instantly release huge quantities of radioactive elements… chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission reported… the “worst-case scenario”: If the situation worsened… as many as thirty million people would need to leave their communities, including many in the Tokyo area.