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This is Nancy’s Symposium outline for the Chicago symposium. Please let me or Dean know if you find something incorrect or that may have been missed that needs to be included. The “findings” section I am working on getting detailed “papers” put together from our previous research or working with the members who did the bulk of the work on those issues to get details put together to document those findings fully. The plan is to publish those papers the day after the symposium as an additional contribution to allow attendees etc. to read more on what we presented.
1. The group, how we formed, why we did it.
*Formed on Reuters live blog
*People with various expertise from many geographical locations – wider knowledge base and news
access, time zones
*Misinformation and lack of information were rampant. Timely & factual information were hard to
*Actual situation at the plant was not being told, authorities and media downplaying it further,
conflicting and confusing statements were coming out.
*Certain parties were claimed an accident could not happen as the accident was beginning to
*People in Japan wanted information as they were getting none, risk, real situation at the plant,
radiation levels, basic protection tactics. Team efforts quickly found data and answers.
Having people in Japan asking “us” for help to make very life changing decisions was quite
*People outside Japan also wanted information, real situation, potential for risk outside Japan,
worry for those in the midst of the disaster.
*We struggled to find credible sources of information in the media so set out to find it ourselves.
*People worldwide became involved in the online blog and we were (and still are) finding
better information faster than the media was by working together.
2. Some of the key things we have done.
*Our research kept us ahead of govt. and TEPCO admissions about actual plant status. We
frequently determined issues at the plant weeks or months before they were publicly
*Diving deeper into questions and issues to quickly get better answers and gathering of critical
reactor and plant data to monitor and find anomalies.
*Photo and video forensics to extract additional data about the plant and the status of the
facilities along with finding key information on damage, meltdowns and blasts.
*Vetting research, news and “expert” statements to the media for factual accuracy while
attempting to remain fact-focused and unbiased.
* We have gathered a large body of information that provides an unbiased historical record of the
disaster and one that hopefully is of use for others research efforts. Compiling this information
into long term useable forms is our evolving goal.
*Compiling news into one location by team based gathering and providing information with cited
sources bridged the gap between immediate media journalism and the slower generated
*Networks of similar minded people, groups and websites have evolved out of the disaster that
now share information and provide wider distribution of new information.
3. Key things we found (Technical issues at the plant, ours vs. official and tepco reports)
*Unit 1’s corium quake effect – as later significant 6.0 or higher quakes hit, radiation in the
drywell would increase significantly, pressure would drop and CRD temps in the RPV would
*The likelihood of a fissure at unit 1 that runs up to the building – pictures
*Unit 1’s quick meltdown & quake damage, the extent of failure points in the systems demise.
*Unit 3’s likely steam explosion and MOX confounding issues (vaporizing, hot spots, existing
*Unit 3 steam shows during early months of the disaster likely hinted at Suppression Chamber
*Unit 4’s SFP instability. Workers confirmed to us that unit 4’s SFP was of great concern in April
and that work to support the pool structure was a priority, TEPCO didn’t admit this publicly for
months. 4’s pool will continue to be a high risk until it is emptied due to structural integrity
issues and fuel corrosion.
4. Challenges we experienced in addressing the disaster.
*Language issues – Documents in Japanese, communicating with witnesses or victims
*Fear and intimidation tactics by govt. and “rumors” laws had a chilling effect on participation,
we lost contributors from Japan, people have mentioned various forms of harassment
*Agenda driven PR attempts to frame debate, downplay situation or inject misinformation
5. Things that stuck in our minds
*People trying to figure out if they should evacuate, find/take iodine pills, find an evacuation route
*Images of the tsunami, the massive damage, unit 3 exploding
*Photos of people, the worried face of a young mother, a woman crying among the rubble.
*Safecast informing older locals of very high radiation outside a restaurant, they had no idea.
6. Government(s) response and risk
*The govt. and TEPCO gave over optimistic reports, vague information and conflicting information in
an effort to protect their personal interests.
*This caused great anxiety and indecision for people directly impacted by the disaster. What was
then concern about evacuating and safety measures now is anxiety and indecision about the
ability to go home and people’s unknown health status.
*People everywhere still struggle with “what to believe” as they hear such differing information
about safety and risk.
*The lack of timely honest information caused some to be exposed unnecessarily and took away the
ability for people to make their own decisions due to lack of information.
*Government responses continue to make aspects of the disaster worse. Food supply concerns, lack
of health testing.
*Status at the plant is very temporary and unstable. Further building damage or fuel changes could
cause a big problem yet govt. is discussing returning home and reactor restarts. Reporting to the
public has been scaled back.
This article would not be possible without the extensive efforts of the SimplyInfo research team
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