When an incident at a privately-owned facility threatens public health and safety, when does the common good supplant the private interests of the owners?
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Xeni Jardin at 6:33 AM Saturday, Mar 19, 2011
In the Wall Street Journal, news that Crucial efforts to stave off the worsening crisis at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant were delayed by its operator's concerns over damaging "valuable assets," and by "initial passivity" on the part of Japan's government. Snip from WSJ:Tepco was reluctant to use seawater because it worried about hurting its long-term investment in the complex, say people involved with the efforts. Seawater, which can render a nuclear reactor permanently inoperable, now is at the center of efforts to keep the plant under control.
Tepco "hesitated because it tried to protect its assets," said Akira Omoto, a former Tepco executive and a member of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission, an official advisory body involved in the effort to tame the plant. Both Tepco and government officials had good reason not to use saltwater, Mr. Omoto added. Early on, nuclear fuel rods were still under cooling water and undamaged, he said, adding, "it's understandable because injecting seawater into the fuel vessel renders it unusable."