Seismologist Predicted Fukushima

Seismologist Katsuhiko Ishibashi spent two decades warning of the high risk of a major earthquake and a resulting nuclear accident in Japan. He even wrote a book. That book caused his superiors to force him to apologise to the Construction Ministry. He eventually lost his job over his predictions.

One plant Ishibashi says is of particular risk is Tsuruga nuclear power plant. Tsuruga sits on Lake Biwa, a major fresh water source in Japan.  Residents recently filed suit trying to shut down Tsuruga, citing the risk to the water supply.

Ishibashi isn’t the first person to warn of the high risk of earthquakes vs. nuclear plants, or the sloppy safety standards at Japan’s nuclear power plants. Katsunobu Onda, author of TEPCO: The Dark Empire (東京電力・暗黒の帝国) told that for TEPCO and the government to admit that the quake at Fukushima Daiichi did direct damage to the reactor itself would mean other reactors in Japan were of equal risk.  Japanese engineer Kei Sugaoka warned the Japanese government in 2000 of the major safety risks in day to day operations and the use of Yakuza subcontractor staff. Sugaoka also informed the government of critical safety issues being covered up and not reported to the government.

There were warnings, plenty of them of all the risk factors going into the disaster, major quakes, outdated seismic and tsunami assumptions and aging plants without proper safety and upgrades. These conditions exist in other countries where risk denial, aging plants and dishonest reporting to the public come together to create the same conditions elsewhere.

Akira Kurosawa imagined just such a disaster and what it could mean for Japan in 1990 in his movie Dreams. There is still a copy on YouTube, most have been taken down.

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