Posts Tagged prediction

Tepco tries to save face | The Japan Times Online

Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Thursday defended its decision to withhold the results of its 2008 calculations that predicted tsunami higher than 10 meters could strike the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, saying it saw no point at the time in publicizing a projection based on a multitude of assumptions.

Tepco spokesman Junichi Matsumoto said the calculation was made on an “unreasonable” assumption of a massive quake that had never occurred off Fukushima striking, adding it was difficult before March 11 to comprehend the potential danger.

via Fukushima rice tests show no contamination | The Japan Times Online.

This is a little odd. I would understand it if they said, “While we always knew that there was always the possibility of a quake and tsunami of a size beyond our predictions, nevertheless, we had to draw a line somewhere as to probability; we had to weigh costs versus probability, and we made our choice – the chances of a massive tsunami higher than 10 metres were so slim (in our estimation) that preparing for such an eventuality would not be worth the costs. We now see that we were wrong about the slim chances, but a decision had to be made and we made it.”

But that’s not what they’re saying, at least according to this Kyodo article.  They’re saying ” it was difficult before March 11 to comprehend the potential danger.” In other words, they seem to be saying, “we didn’t have enough data!” This suggests a startling lack of a) imagination, and b) of how economic decisions are made.

And it’s an odd sort of defensive statement to make.

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The geologist who predicted Japans tsunami – The Week

More bad news for TEPCO.

Was Shishikura certain the big one was coming?Yes, he just couldnt pinpoint precisely when it would arrive. Shishikura calculated that colliding tectonic plates under the Pacific Ocean off northeastern Japan triggered giant waves every 450 to 800 years. Historians already knew that a 25-foot tsunami had hit Sendai Bay in the year 869, sweeping more than two miles inland and stretching as far south as the site of the now-devastated Fukushima nuclear plant. Another tsunami appeared to have hit between 1300 and 1600. So Shishikura figured that the most vulnerable areas — including the city of Sendai, and Fukushima — were due to be hit by a giant wave at any time.How did he know that? He figured it out by looking at rocks.

Was there any way to predict the extent of the damage?
Yes. Japan has been hit by 195 tsunamis since the year 400. In the last three decades, there have been three waves that were more than 30 feet high. Yet Tokyo Electric’s seawall defenses at Fukushima were built to protect the nuclear reactors from waves reaching only 17 feet high. “That is ridiculous,” says Ryohei Morimoto, a retired volcanology professor at the University of Tokyo, as quoted by The Japan Times. “Even if they couldn’t predict the size of tsunami, they should have at least prepared for waves similar to those in the past.”

via The geologist who predicted Japans tsunami – The Week.

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