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By Kwang Weng Kin / The Jakarta Post/ August 9, 2012 /
Five hundred days and four voluminous reports later, the truth about the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 plant remains elusive.
The Fukushima disaster was triggered by a huge earthquake and tsunami on March 11 last year.
A report by a government-appointed panel – the last of three independent inquiries into the disaster – was released late last month.
Like those of two other such inquiries – one by a private panel released in February and another by a Parliament-appointed committee earlier last month – the report was exhaustive but not conclusive.
The fourth report, an in-house inquiry conducted by Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), which runs the Fukushima facility, was released in June.
Nuclear energy advocates, their minds jolted by the Fukushima disaster, had hoped that the multiple inquiries would yield information to help the government prevent a repeat of the disaster, and to decide whether nearly 50 idled reactors throughout the country should be restarted.
Their hopes were, however, dashed.
All the inquiries suffer from a lack of first-hand examination of the evidence, since the risk of radiation prevents investigators from entering the Fukushima plant. Conclusions in the reports thus fall into the realm of conjecture and contradict one another.
Another disturbing outcome is that while some blame has been pinned on Tepco and the bureaucracy, so far no heads have had to roll.
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