All posts tagged Deepwater Horizon

Ex-governor of Fukushima saw his concerns about nuclear plants tragically vindicated

There’s nothing like a major disaster to see how important whistleblowers are, and to expose the other half of the wrongdoers’ playbook.

The tsunami that caused the meltdown at the Fukushima I Nuclear Plant is just such a disaster. In the piece below, we can see how a former governor of the Fukushima Prefecture, Sato Eisaku, received many warnings from whistleblowers about the nuclear plant, and tried to have them addressed. As a result, he argues, he was wrongfully prosecuted for corruption and kicked from office. There is evidence to support his claims. He wrote a book in 2008 about his concerns; it is now a bestseller.

Whistleblowing in the nuclear industry has been met with reprisals in many countries, including the U.S. One former inspector, in fact, reported that the problem of backup generators not working is a fairly typical one which the industry has a history of ignoring. (In the Fukushima plant, the generators were in the basement so were vulnerable to flooding.)

Whistleblowers before an accident generally face a standard set of responses: denials that there is a problem, attacks on their credibility and a variety of other personal attacks.

After a crisis, it’s common for officials to argue that it was impossible to predict.… Read the rest

Media Update for September 9, 2010

Posted by Ian Bron

News Summary and Comment:

It’s always interesting to see how different media outlets treat the same story. In Quebec, the inquiry into allegations of corruption in judicial appointments made by former provincial Justice Minister Marc Bellemare demonstrates this. Testimony in the past few days has been from bureaucrats. The Montreal Gazette has chosen to emphasize that they don’t think the appointment process has changed since before Jean Charest became Premier in 2003. This could just suggest that the process has always been corrupt, of course, and says nothing about possible back room deals. La Presse, however, notes that a key Liberal fundraiser had access to bureaucrats who administer the appointment process. I find this far more significant, but will reserve judgment until more evidence is out.

Bill Elliot, the RCMP Commissioner and recently under scrutiny for allegations of bullying and harassment in the workplace, has drawn the attention of journalists for wearing an RCMP uniform and sidearm in a photo-op in Afghanistan. This isn’t a strict accountability story, although I believe that the right to wear a uniform has to be earned (and he hasn’t). I include the story, though, as his leadership is a pet peeve of mine.… Read the rest