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Japan’s nuclear watchdog concerned at possibility of volcano near nuclear station

RA eyes seabed watch of caldera near Kagoshima nuclear plant, Asahi Shimbun, By CHIKAKO KAWAHARA/ Staff Writer March 3, 2019  The nightmare scenario of a volcanic crater erupting and spewing a pyroclastic flow that engulfs a nuclear plant, causing catastrophic levels of radiation to leak into the atmosphere, doesn’t appear on the horizon … just yet.But the nation’s nuclear watchdog is taking no chances. It plans to install seabed sensors to monitor potential crustal deformations on the Aira Caldera, located just 40 kilometers from the Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Little is known of processes that lead to giant eruptions of calderas, or ground depressions formed by volcanic activity, due to a lack of observation data. Such eruptions are extremely rare and occurs every 10,000 years in Japan.

The Aira Caldera, in Kagoshima Bay, was the site of a giant eruption around 30,000 years ago.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority has so far relied on land-based seismic and other sensors to indirectly monitor magma activity and other changes beneath the seabed.

Starting in the new fiscal year from April, the NRA will set up seismic sensors and water-pressure gauges on the seafloor for additional monitoring……..

Huge calderas exist within a 160-km radius of other nuclear plants in Japan, including Kyushu Electric’s Genkai plant in Saga Prefecture, Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture and Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s Tomari plant. The NRA intends to conduct studies in those areas, too……… 


March 4, 2019 - Posted by | Japan, safety

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