MOSCOW, September 11 (RIA Novosti) – Masao Yoshida, the manager of TEPCO’s Fukushima nuclear power plant who died from cancer last July, reacted with anger on hearing accusations of hesitation during the Fukushima crisis, the transcript of the investigative committee hearing obtained on Thursday by Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper shows.
“I’d like to beat up those who say we hesitated. I wanted to lower the pressure and start injecting water immediately, no matter the consequences, even if it ran afoul of Prime Minister [Naoto] Kan. Yet, in spite of that, these guys have the nerve to say things that suggest we somehow hesitated ,” remarks from the committee hearing reveal.
Masao Yoshida, the late plant manager at Fukushima, told the committee of his confusion and despair after the tsunami struck the power plant. “To be honest, I was stunned. I thought the situation was grave. There was a strong possibility of this escalating into a severe accident, so we would have to start making preparations, I thought,” Yoshida told the committee.
He described his actions and attempts to power up the plant by back-up generators and to cool the plant’s reactor core. However, three of the six reactors were close to entering a critical state and supplies of fresh water for cooling were drying up.
Considering that, Yoshida made a decision to inject seawater into the reactor. “There had been no such case anywhere in the world, but we had no other choice but to use seawater when it came to securing an unlimited supply of water,” plant manager said.
TEPCO corporation officials prohibited seawater injection shortly after it began, citing the lack of permission from the PM’s Office. Still, Yoshida disobeyed the orders and told the disaster management group not to stop.
However his decision proved to be the right one in preventing further crisis escalation. “I bow in respect for his leadership and decision-making," Japan’s former PM Naoto Kan tweeted in tribute to commemorate Yoshida on the day of his death.