Regarding Paul Arenson’s Oct. 14 letter “Quake’s role in Fukushima disaster,” I was an independent member of the IAEA’s Mission to Onagawa, which performed a damage walkdown of the Onagawa nuclear power station in Tochigi Prefecture from July 30 to Aug. 9, 2012. In the words of the IAEA mission leader, Sujit Samaddar, and as reported in The Japan Times by Kazuaki Nagata on Aug. 11 in “IAEA: Onagawa passed the 3/11 test,” the Onagawa nuclear power station was “remarkably undamaged” by the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.
The Onagawa staff fulfilled every request to inspect the station and to view maintenance records. The staff was open, honest and has the safety of the public foremost in their minds. Their concern with safety began in 1968, when a Mr. Hirai, a member of the coastal commission, made sure that a 14-meter tsunami wall was constructed, and continues today with costly improvements to provide defense in depth against extreme events.
The Onagawa nuclear power station experienced the strongest ground shaking of any nuclear power station on March 11. If plants are thus constructed, managed and maintained, then there are good reasons to trust in their safety and operators.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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