Editor's Note: This is part of IEEE Spectrum's ongoing coverage of Japan's earthquake and nuclear emergency.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has been notoriously close-mouthed about the details of operations at the crippled Fukushima Dai-1 nuclear power plant. Last week, however, the company broke the trend and released a video report from within the grounds of the ruined power station. The video includes an apology from the plant's general manager, Masao Yoshida, who formally bows to the camera.
Yoshida has become something of a folk hero in Japan based on reports that he insisted on continuing seawater injections to the core of reactor No. 1 on the second day of the accident, despite a government order to halt. It's not clear how accurate those reports are—the government may not have issued a firm order, but may rather have simply raised concerns—but regardless, Yoshida deserves the veneration. By all accounts, he has worked tirelessly to stabilize the nuclear power plant, and his staff respects him enormously.
Watch the video below to see Yoshida's apology and his general address about progress at Fukushima Daiichi. The video also includes information about the plant workers' health and safety, as well as updates on the water-filtration system that is now in operation and reactor coverings that are being installed.
Senior Editor Eliza Strickland joined IEEE Spectrum in March 2011 and was initially assigned the Asia beat. She got down to business several days later when the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster began. Strickland shared a Neal Award for news coverage of that catastrophe and wrote the definitive account of the accident's first 24 hours. She next moved to the biomedical engineering beat and managed Spectrum's 2015 special report, “Hacking the Human OS." That report spawned the Human OS blog about emerging technologies that are enabling a more precise and personalized kind of medicine. The blog reports on wearable sensors, big-data analytics, and neural implants that may turn us all into cyborgs. Over the years, Strickland watched as artificial intelligence (AI) technology made inroads into the biomedical space, reporting on crossovers between AI and neuroscience research and IBM Watson's ill-fated efforts in AI health care. These days she oversees Spectrum's coverage of all things AI. Strickland has reported on science and technology for nearly 20 years, writing for such publications as Discover,Nautilus, Sierra, Foreign Policy, and Wired. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.