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Organizational flaws worsened Japan nuclear crisis following tsunami

According to a report from a Japanese nuclear power plant operator, communication and organizational issues that led to meltdowns last year still need to be fixed before the plant reopens.
According to a report from a Japanese nuclear power plant operator, communication and organizational issues that led to meltdowns last year still need to be fixed before the plant reopens.

Communication issues and organizational flaws were highlighted as being major causes of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan experiencing radiation leaks and meltdowns after last year's tsunami in a report released by the plant's operator, according to a Huffington Post article. Moreover, the report stated that these same issues have yet to be fully resolved.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) released the information as Japan prepares to restart the nuclear reactors for the first time since the March 11, 2011 disaster, which forced a prolonged shutdown of all of the nation's atomic generating plants. The tsunami severely damaged four reactors at Fukushima and knocked out cooling systems. Tens of thousands of residents were forced to evacuate from the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

TEPCO Vice President Masao Yamazaki said that despite recent predictions that an earthquake could generate waves able to leap over seawalls protecting the reactors, the company underestimated the tsunami risk.

"We must admit that our tsunami anticipation was too optimistic, and our insufficient preparations for a tsunami were the fundamental cause of the accident," Yamazaki said in a news conference.

The report went on to say that creating greater flexibility among plant workers still needs to be done and a more solid line of communication during a crisis has to be created in order for the plant to move forward and pave the way for other commercial nuclear reactors.

While it is impossible for any business and organization to fully predict the extent to which they will be affected by a natural disaster, it is important to establish a solid business continuity plan that is properly communicated to all employees. Communication is key in any type of crisis and employees and company leaders need to be well-versed on the correct plan of action before, during and after a disaster.