Former Prime Minister Kan has been making the international rounds talking to various groups and the media about the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Kan blames much of the disaster on the decision to build the Fukushima Daiichi plant at such a low elevation. Even back in the 1950’s they knew historically high tsunamis were possible in the area. Developers seemed to either ignore the issue or grossly underestimated the potential risk.
This is not a uniquely Japan problem. The same mentality appears to have existed in the US during the same era. Building Ft. Calhoun nuclear plant on the floodplain of the Missouri River was a similarly short sighted idea of the time. As was building the North Anna nuclear station over a significant fault line. Many documents of the era show a very different mindset towards risk and nuclear safety among the private sector and regulators than exists today.
While some aspects of reactor safety have improved over the decades, Kan points to continuing problems with regulation, safety and disaster preparedness that were exposed during Fukushima.
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