Transcripts Provide Unique Glimpse of an Agency in Action

The NRC today has made available about 3,000 pages of transcribed conversations from the agency’s emergency operations center representing much of our communications over the first 10 days of the Fukushima reactor crisis in Japan in March 2011.

These documents provide a rare look inside the workings of the agency’s crisis center as the men and women of the NRC worked 24/7 to find ways to help Americans in Japan, the Japanese government and the firm that owns the Fukushima reactors.

It is up close and personal, gritty and unvarnished. It lays out the very human stories of staffers working with little rest, talking to counterparts half a world away while at the same time conversing with other agencies in the executive branch, our armed forces and the domestic nuclear industry.

This is a historical record of what went down in those early days.

As you read these transcripts – partially redacted and produced at substantial cost over nine months in response to Freedom of Information Act requests — you’ll see that the first days were very hectic. There wasn’t a lot of information. There was confusion and communication problems.

But the NRC staff quickly settled into a rhythm after the first alert – long hours, little rest, bad food – and important handoffs between shifts, regular communications with our teams in Japan, and in time working directly with the Japanese and TEPCO, the plant owner. And there was steady communication with the American public and the news media. In fact, this blog became a primary communications tool and readership greatly exceeded our expectations.

The situation appears stable now, but it was far from it in the early days as staff experts, under the direction of Chairman Jaczko, made tough and sometimes controversial recommendations.

Today, the NRC is working to implement lessons our experts have culled from what happened at Fukushima.

We invite you to read these transcripts to see an agency hard at work in the name of safety.

Eliot Brenner
Director, Office of Public Affairs

Author: Moderator

Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

36 thoughts on “Transcripts Provide Unique Glimpse of an Agency in Action”

  1. Wow 3000 pages? I bet there is a lot going on within those conversations. Thanks for the information. I will be using it for a report I am doing at school on the issue. I will be book marking this site. Thanks again!

  2. read them from a USA based IP? I had a clearance in the Military that is long expired, but I believe this type of document is public record?

  3. Yes! This is a historical record of what went down in those early days.
    Thank you very much!

  4. As a student of history I would love to read the source documents are these classified, or can anyone read them from a USA based IP? I had a clearance in the Military that is long expired, but I believe this type of document is public record?

  5. But the NRC staff quickly settled into a rhythm after the first alert – long hours, little rest, bad food – and important handoffs between shifts, regular communications with our teams in Japan, and in time working directly with the Japanese and TEPCO, the plant owner.

  6. “3,000 pages of transcribed conversations” is a big number. that is wonderful. i am lucky beacause i have read it !

  7. Great to know. I can’t believe this info wasn’t available previously.

  8. I’m really not 100% sure the Fukushima reactor crisis in Japan is now stable?

  9. Yes, and if the redacted sections were uncovered people would probably be going to jail or at the very least we would know why Fukushima is still spewing poison after a full year.

  10. Wow 3000 pages? I bet there is a lot going on within those conversations. Thanks for the information. I will be using it for a report I am doing at school on the issue. I will be book marking this site. Thanks again!

  11. The release of these are important in analyzing what could have been done better in a similar situation. I’m not the one to do said analyzing, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

  12. Wow, interesting, in many ways..
    In one way it’s amazing that the conversations have been transcribed and in another I can’t start to imagine the magnitude of such a task.
    No doubt a document that will have a place in history and be referred to many times in the future.

  13. Chairman Jaczko is very controversial person however many his guidelines needs to be followed

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