Fukushima reactor makers not liable: Japan court

IAEA fact-finding team leader Mike Weightman examines Reactor Unit 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. IAEA Imagebank Photo Credit: Greg Webb / IAEA https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

A Japanese court on Wednesday turned down a class action lawsuit seeking damages from nuclear plant makers Toshiba, Hitachi and GE over the Fukushima meltdown disaster, the plaintiffs, one of the companies and a report said.

About 3,800 claimants in the suit, hailing from Japan and 32 other countries including the United States, Germany and South Korea, had sought largely symbolic compensation from the nuclear power plant manufacturers.

Under Japanese liability law, nuclear plant providers are usually exempt from damage claims in the event of an accident, leaving operators to face legal action.

The plaintiffs' lawyers, however, had argued that that violated constitutional protections on the pursuit of happy, wholesome and cultured livelihoods.

But the Tokyo District Court ruled that the law "is not unconstitutional", according to lawyers for the plaintiffs.

"We knew it was difficult to win under the current legal system in Japan, but it's clearly wrong that nuclear (plant) manufacturers don't have to bear any responsibility for an accident," Masao Imaizumi, 73, one of plaintiffs, told AFP.

"If they are spared responsibility, it could lead to disregard for product quality," he said, adding that the plaintiffs will appeal.

http://www.nuclearpowerdaily.com/reports/Fukushima_reactor_makers_not_liable_Japan_court_999.html

Yet there were several design/build errors including:

b) The Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) could not be de-pressurized via the SR (Safety Relief) valve due to the effect of high RPV pressure on the valve operation. [Since the maximum RPV pressure was known, this is a fundamental design fault]. In addition, under Station Blackout (SBO), there was no electric power to actuate the valve. If the SR valve remains closed, there's no way to prevent a meltdown. This happened at Reactors 1, 2, and 3.

c) The RPV could not be 'vented' with the AO valve, due to lack of compressed air to actuate the valve. This was due to lack of electric power for the air compressor. If the RPV cannot be vented, decay heat will cause it to rupture and release fission products to the environment. This happened at Reactor 2.

and:

f) The RCIC (Reactor Core Isolation Cooling) system for Reactor 1 cannot be activated without electric power. Although the electric status indicators were also inoperative, the Isolation Condensers were assumed to be working. The operators mistook faint steam coming from the 'pig's nose' outlets as confirming that the Isolation Condenser was working. Yet in over 40 years, this had never been tested !

g) As a last-ditch method of cooling the reactors, fire engines were used to inject water into the reactor buildings. However, due to a pump lacking power for operation, much of it leaked via an unexpected pathway into the main condensers, rather than reaching the reactors. Yet in over 40 years, this had never been tested !

See also my article on the Fukushima meltdown documentaries

2016-07-18
Fukushima reactor makers not liable: Japan court

A Japanese court on Wednesday turned down a class action lawsuit seeking damages from nuclear plant makers Toshiba, Hitachi and GE over the Fukushima meltdown disaster, the plaintiffs, one of the companies and a report said. About 3,800 claimants in the suit, hailing from Japan and 32 other countries including the United States, Germany and South Korea, had sought largely symbolic compensation from the nuclear power plant manufacturers.

Under Japanese liability law, nuclear plant providers are usually exempt from damage claims in the event of an accident, leaving operators to face legal action. The plaintiffs' lawyers, however, had argued that that violated constitutional protections on the pursuit of happy, wholesome and cultured livelihoods.

IAEA fact-finding team leader Mike Weightman examines Reactor Unit 3 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. IAEA Imagebank Photo Credit: Greg Webb / IAEA https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/