Fukushima Disaster was Man-made, says report

The report incriminates the power plant operator, the Japanese government and the regulators.

By ANTHONY BOND | MAIL ONLINE | JULY 5, 2012

‘They effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents’ says report. The findings call for further investigation into the impact of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake on the reactors at Fukushima.

The nuclear accident at Fukushima in Japan last year was a ‘man-made disaster’ and not completely caused by the devastating tsunami, a new report has said.

The Japanese parliamentary panel today submitted its final report on the catastrophe. The probe is the third of its kind in Japan since the world’s worst nuclear crisis in a generation.

In a damning report, the Diet’s Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission said:

‘The TEPCO Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO, and the lack of governance by said parties.’

‘They effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents. Therefore, we conclude that the accident was clearly ‘man-made’.

‘We believe that the root causes were the organisational and regulatory systems that supported faulty rationales for decisions and actions, rather than issues relating to the competency of any specific individual.’

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Radioactive water leaks from Japan’s damaged plant

Reuters
June 28, 2011

Tons of radioactive water were discovered on Tuesday to have leaked into the ground from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant, the latest in a series of leaks at the plant damaged in a March earthquake and tsunami, the country’s nuclear watchdog said.

More than three months after the disaster, authorities are struggling to bring under control damaged reactors at the power plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo.

About 15 metric tons of water with a low level of radiation leaked from a storage tank at the plant on the Pacific coast, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said it was investigating the cause of the leak which was later repaired.

Vast amounts of water contaminated with varying levels of radiation have accumulated in storage tanks at the plant after being used to cool reactors damaged when their original cooling systems were knocked out by the March 11 disaster.

Dealing with that radioactive water has been a major problem for Tepco, which is trying to use a decontamination system that cleans water so it can be recycled to cool the reactors.

But the system has encountered technical glitches and officials have said the water could spill into the Pacific Ocean unless the system was operating properly.

The system was halted an hour and a half after it started on Monday because of a water leakage.

Tepco fixed the problem and restarted the system on Tuesday afternoon, said Junichi Matsumoto, an official at the utility.

Typhoon Songda to spread radiation from Fukushima

The Real Agenda
May 30, 2011

Japanese energy company TEPCO has warned -a little late- that the typhoon Songda will indeed help spread radiation pollution as it passes through the Fukushima nuclear complex.

Even after Songda was downgraded, its winds are likely to collect and deliver loads of radioactive materials because TEPCO failed to protect the crumbling structure of the Fukushima rectors.

“We have made utmost efforts, but we have not completed covering the damaged reactor buildings,” said a company’s spokesperson. TEPCO also failed to gauge the magnitude of the disaster and only revealed the reach of the radioactive pollution several weeks after it occurred.

It is now known that thousands of gallons of radioactive water have poured into the pacific ocean as the Fukushima nuclear site literally collapsed after the earthquake and multiple fires and explosions it experienced thereafter.

“Contaminated water is increasing and this is a massive problem,” said Tetsuo Iguchi, a specialist from the University of Nagoya. “They need to find a place to store the contaminated water and they need to guarantee it won’t go into the soil.

Watch the latest reporting from NHK news below.

TEPCO: Reactor Vessels cracked

NHK
May 25, 2011

The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says data analyses suggest damage to its reactors may have caused cracks and openings in the reactor containment vessels equivalent to a 10-centimeter hole.

Reactors 1 through 3 at the plant suffered nuclear fuel meltdowns after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. This is likely to have created holes and cracks at the bottom of the pressure vessels protecting the reactor cores and damaged the containment vessels.

Massive amounts of highly radioactive water also leaked from the structures.

Tokyo Electric Power Company analyzed the changes in pressure levels inside the pressure and containment vessels to gauge the scope of the damage.

TEPCO said the analyses show that holes in the Number 1 reactor containment vessel amounting to 3 centimeters in total may have formed 18 hours after the quake. It said that may have expanded to 7 centimeters at least 50 hours after the quake.

The utility said holes and cracks equivalent to 10 centimeters in diameter may have formed in the Number 2 reactor’s containment vessel about 21 hours after the quake. It said a similar amount of holes could have been created in the suppression pool chamber by an explosion heard coming from there on March 15th.

TEPCO said these results were obtained through data calculations, and that it has yet to confirm whether such holes actually exist.

TEPCO: Fukushima meltdown happened 16 hours after earthquake

The Mainichi Daily News
May 16, 2011

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) admitted for the first time on May 15 that most of the fuel in one of its nuclear reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant had melted only about 16 hours after the March 11 earthquake struck a wide swath of northeastern Japan and triggered a devastating tsunami.

According to TEPCO, the operator of the crippled nuclear power plant, the emergency condenser designed to cool the steam inside the pressure vessel of the No. 1 reactor was working properly shortly after the magnitude-9.0 earthquake, but it lost its functions around 3:30 p.m. on March 11 when tsunami waves hit the reactor.

Based on provisional analysis of data on the reactor, the utility concluded that the water level in the pressure vessel began to drop rapidly immediately after the tsunami, and the top of the fuel began to be exposed above the water around 6 p.m. Around 7:30 p.m., the fuel was fully exposed above the water surface and overheated for more than 10 hours. At about 9 p.m., the temperature in the reactor core rose to 2,800 degrees Celsius, the melting point for fuel. At approximately 7:50 p.m., the upper part of the fuel started melting, and at around 6:50 a.m. on March 12, a meltdown occurred.

On the reason why it took over two months after the earthquake to reveal the information, TEPCO said it had only been able to start obtaining detailed data on the temperature and pressure in the reactor for analysis in early May.

Junichiro Matsumoto, a senior TEPCO official, said, “Because there is similar damage to the fuel rods at the No. 2 and 3 reactors, the bottoms of their pressure vessels could also have been damaged.” He said the utility would carry out similar analysis on the two reactors.

Hiroaki Koide, professor of nuclear safety engineering at Kyoto University, was critical of TEPCO.

“They could have assumed that when the loss of power made it impossible to cool down the reactor, it would soon lead to a meltdown of the core. TEPCO’s persistent explanation that the damage to the fuel had been limited turned out to be wrong,” he said.