Skip to main content

Leadership at Fukushima Daini

Charles Casto
The latest addition to our understanding of the lessons in leadership from the Fukushima experience of 2011 comes from Charles Casto.  Mr. Casto spent almost a year as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's senior liaison in Japan after the Fukushima accident.  This role gave him an extraordinary opportunity to learn from the people involved in the accident response.  Mr. Casto recounts many of his insights in an article in the Harvard Business Review, July-August 2014 issue, and in an HBR podcast accompanying the article.


Naohiro Masuda
The article focuses on the crisis leadership of Naohiro Masuda, superintendent of the Fukushima Daini site, and his contribution to saving Daini from the reactor meltdowns that occurred at the sister plant, Fukushima Daiichi.  Mr. Casto and co-authors Ranjay Gulati and Charlotte Krontiris, highlight Masuda-san's technique for "sense-making" in the midst of uncertainty.  The article specially highlights Masuda-san's openness with critical information on a whiteboard, giving employees raw data from which to draw their own meaning, instead of giving them only his interpretation (meaning) of that data. 

Nuclear Notes has previously featured posts by U.S. chief nuclear officers Maria Korsnick and Ed Halpin, who visited Fukushima in 2013 and saw firsthand the aftermath of the earthquake, tsunami and meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi. They recognized, as does Mr. Casto, the difference that leadership makes in adapting to unanticipated situations fraught with great uncertainty.  As they and others have highlighted, adaptability is a key to the industry's FLEX strategy, adaptability derived from preparation, training and leadership.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…