Hiroko Tabuchi in the New York Times.
Early commentary is that this report really doesn’t have much weight to it. People thought it was going to be a very thorough document that pointed fingers and placed blame. Instead, it sounds like it split the difference for blame between TEPCO and the government regulators and other officials.
When I get a chance to read through it, maybe there is something there that makes it seem like its a report that was more of a ritual than a result of an inquest. I don’t think that the Japanese do inquests very well, and so perhaps its amazing that there was an independent commission at all.
Nuclear power scares people. There’s a big debate as to whether this fear is justified or not. But that doesn’t allay the fear. No one in Japan wants to live around these plants—they don’t think the payoff money is worth the risk anymore. Emphasizing the man-made aspects of the disaster, which was triggered, of course, by a natural disaster, is not going to make nuclear power any more acceptable to that segment of Japanese who just don’t want it.
It’s not like there’s a consensus about whether nuclear energy is good or bad. The Germans are getting rid of their nukes by the 2020’s. (Right next door, the French are whole hog for nuclear.) The Ukrainians are not enamored with the technology, having experienced Chernobyl in 1986. Three Mile Island, here in south central Pennsylvania, is not even a consideration for most people locally. There’s three other nuclear plants right within a short driving distance. TMI is ancient history, or trivia of the late 1970s.
I bet that the Japanese will restart their nuclear plants; however, the price to be the host of one, in those far-away communities outside Kantou region, will keep going up.