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Why Onagawa Nuclear Power Station Survived the Tsunami 148

Kyusaku Natsume writes "While the town of Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, was hit hard by the March 2011 tsunami, the nuclear plant it shares with the equally devastated city of Ishinomaki survived. The reason it did so is mostly down to the personal strength and tenacity of one Yanosuke Hirai, who passed away in 1986 and insisted that the plant should have been protected by a 14.8 m tall seawall. A great quote from the article: 'Corporate ethics and compliance may be similar, but their cores are different, from the perspective of corporate social responsibility, we cannot say that there is no need to question a company's actions just because they are not a crime under the law.'"
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Why Onagawa Nuclear Power Station Survived the Tsunami

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  • Re:Help needed (Score:2, Informative)

    by giorgist ( 1208992 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @12:20AM (#39538663)
    Dear fellow hacker ... do you know how to make a Jesus nut ? Note: you can't use one out of your bicycle

    If not then all you will make is an amazing hand glider that can fly with a fridge loaded above it.
  • Re:Legality (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @12:22AM (#39538671) Homepage

    Just to clarify a point here, because it's a pet peeve of mine...

    Jury nullification is for when the law itself is unethical, not just when one application is unethical. If you have an ethical reason to break a law, that's mitigating circumstances, which can itself lead to a "not guilty" verdict, without bringing the issue of the law's legality into question (which almost always just makes a trial more complicated).

    There are really rather few cases where nullification is a reasonable option, but the hivemind here seems to be obsessed with it as a panacea for unpopular laws.

  • Re:Social Contracts (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 01, 2012 @03:48AM (#39539243)

    what's so sad about the whole fukushima mess and this article, is that the meltdown wasn't even caused by the tsunami - unit 1 (at least) was already melting down, out of control, and venting radioactive xenon, iodine and caesium before the tsunami even hit. the earthquake itself was enough to shear the reactor coolant pipes. even if the diesel generators weren't wiped out, the plant would have suffered the exact same fate.

    but for all the apologists saying plants in the usa are safe, i wonder what they'll do when an earthquake knocks out cooling for a plant that's nearby themselves or their family. probably run for the hills i assume - any nuclear plant that's not 100% passively safe (that is, every plant on the face of the earth as of right now) should never have been built. then again, who cares what engineer's think about failsafes.

    but we had to go with a reactor that could breed bomb-grade plutonium, instead of a passively safe plan like a thorium reactor. look where it's got us.

  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Sunday April 01, 2012 @04:17AM (#39539339) Homepage Journal

    Better safety measures to protect their million/billion dollar assets are very much in their interest.

    Two reasons why it is not:

    1. Profits are higher 99% of the time, and when something goes wrong it wasn't their fault (big tsunami, rouge operator mistake etc). Ultimately someone has to decide to spend money on safety, and chances are that person won't be to blame if there is an accident but will get a bonus if the share price goes up so there is little incentive for them to chose the less profitable option.

    2. The majority of the cost of an accident is born by the government anyway. The cost of insuring nuclear installations would make them uneconomical so the government has to do it. I don't have a figure for Japan to hand by in the UK the required insurance is £140m per site and in the US it is $10bn for the entire industry. Fukushima has already cost orders of magnitude more than that, and while TEPCO will eventually pick up some of that cost the majority is being met by the government.

  • Re:Civil Engineers (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheTurtlesMoves ( 1442727 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @05:33AM (#39539565)
    I wouldn't say its the exception. After all it not news when bridges don't fall down, or last longer than expected or [insert positive outcome here]. Its only news when something goes wrong. The bulk of our engineering works fine not only in design conditions, but well in many cases a little "off design".
  • by Bayoudegradeable ( 1003768 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @07:52AM (#39539897)
    Hirai-sama Banzai! (No, no, no, this is not a war chant. It literally means, "Sir (give or take) Hirai, ten thousand generations!" May Hirai be remembered for ten thousand generations, indeed.
  • logical conclusion (Score:5, Informative)

    by spineboy ( 22918 ) on Sunday April 01, 2012 @07:55AM (#39539907) Journal

    Interesting argument, but it relies on a logical fallacy that implies our wealth is derived from being free, and not from being a growing industrialized nation. China might be an argument against your supposition.

      Other thought - while our country was "free" there were horrors, like rivers catching on fire from accumulated waste, and working situations like "the Jungle" by Upton Sinclair.

    Our wealth is beng polarized by the new Oil Barrons, and wasteful wars, etc.

  • Re:Legality (Score:5, Informative)

    by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Sunday April 01, 2012 @10:13AM (#39540481) Homepage Journal

    Then you're a moron. Your points are contradicted by reality.

    Individual rights cannot exist without collective rights for them to exist within. Anarchy has total freedom but no rights.

    Social safety nets exist because all natural systems degenerate to the 80:20 rule and the 80:20 rule is neither efficient nor ethical.

    The US has never been particularly productive, individual freedoms != individual rights (Americans really need to grasp this), and the time between the Civil War and WW1 is when it was guilty of most of the theft of technology from other nations, had one of the worst civil rights records and was most interested in financially backing tyrannies and dictatorships. It fought many wars in that time out of greed and perversion (not claiming more recent wars were better, merely those wars were cynical, self-serving and degenerate), xenophobia and religious extremism were rampant. The South, especially, became dangerously close to Failed Nation status out of its desire to circumvent individual rights in the name of individual freedom.

    I regard the US as the worst possible example of progressive or rational thinking. The first President had it right - political parties are destructive monstrosities and liberty is no excuse for the destruction of society.

"Plastic gun. Ingenious. More coffee, please." -- The Phantom comics