The reconstruction of disaster that hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on March 11 this year, published by the Wall Street Journal shows the deterioration of the nuclear plants in the first 24 hours was much faster as opposed to what was comprehended earlier.
The reconstruction by the WSJ is based on research, examination and interviews with officials including Tepco, administration and some law makers. It uncovered facts on how there was a seven-hour delay before the Tepco executives formally decided to vent a dangerous pressure buildup in one reactor.
At that point, there was a clash between Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Tepco's top official. There was a lack of unity, said Goshi Hosono, the cabinet official overseeing the Fukushima disaster.
The situation had reached a level that in a desperate effort to revive malfunctioning reactor gauges, the plant's engineers had to pull batteries from cars that survived the tsunami.
The alarmingly overheating plant's relief vents had to be forcefully opened with hands by the workers. Unaware that the plant's emergency batteries were malfunctioning, the workers wrongly assumed that they had more time to make repairs. As a result, the workers weren't prepared of the quick meltdown of the nuclear fuel.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., or Tepco, confirmed that one of the plant's six reactors suffered a substantial meltdown on the very first day. Tepco has also released documents giving details of the first few hours of the first day of the catastrophic disaster. Tepco executives admitted that they weren't aware for hours of the gravity of the incident.
By the time the officials decided to vent its reactor, radiation levels had already reached such heights that within a few minutes of exposure, the man who volunteered to hand-crank the relief valve open had received 100 times the radiation an average person gets in a year.
Tepco also disclosed that it now believes that by morning of March 12, the nuclear fuel in Reactor 1 had already melted into a heap at the bottom of the reactor vessel. Also, Mr. Shimizu, Tepco's president, attributed delays to concern about evacuating residents and technical problems.