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Critical situation at Fukushima nuclear reactor No 2 on March 11 2011

Fukushima No. 2 scrambled to avoid same fate as sister site Fukushima No. 1  Fukushima Emergency – what can we do? by  Sep 10, 2014 

FUKUSHIMA – This is the fifth in a series on the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe based on the accounts of people who struggled to contain the crisis in its early stages. Job titles and ages are as of March 2011.


Fukushima No. 1 wasn’t the only nuclear complex facing a critical situation after the magnitude-9.0 earthquake of March 11, 2011, unleashed a monster tsunami on the coast of Tohoku.
Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 2 plant, located about 12 km south of the No. 1 plant, also saw seawater pumps and electrical equipment flooded by the tsunami, which led three of its four reactors to lose key cooling functions.
Still, the extent of the damage was less devastating than that at its sister plant and one off-site power source that remained operable provided more leeway for workers to deal with the emergency.
For No. 2 plant chief Naohiro Masuda, 53, the worst situation imaginable was to lose control of both plants at the same time.
So when he watched on television as an explosion rocked the No. 1 reactor building at the other complex on March 12, Masuda issued an order that could be seen by some as coldhearted.
“Don’t allow anyone (from Fukushima No. 1) to enter our emergency response office building,” the plant chief said.
The building houses the emergency first-aid station.
Masuda’s decision reflected his determination to keep the developments at the other site from hampering stabilization efforts at his plant.
Workers exposed to radiation or injured by the explosion were certain to be transported to Fukushima No. 2.
Masuda believed that he had to limit the radiation contamination inside his complex so as not to affect the workers’ efforts.
He told his subordinates to prepare a place away from the office building for the No. 1 workers. His decision was later criticized by some No. 1 workers, who said they felt they were treated “like garbage.”
An area to scrub away radiation contamination and an aid center were set up inside a facility next to the main gate. The plant’s gymnasium was also readied as a shelter for workers from No. 1.
By the night of March 12, everything was ready to receive the No. 1 workers. But Masuda noticed many of his own workers appeared anxious. To reassure them, he gathered them together and told them he would “make sure that you won’t end up with any health problems. Don’t worry……….

At one point Masuda asked for the head office to send 4,000 tons of water for the reactor-cooling operation. Instead, the office arranged to send a 4,000-liter water truck, possibly thinking that the request had been for drinking water.
When that happened, Masuda told his subordinates: “Don’t rely on others. Let’s do things by ourselves.”
A single misstep could have altered the fate of Fukushima No. 2. But the plant managed to keep the severity of the incident at level 3 on the international scale of nuclear accidents.
The crisis at Fukushima No. 1 was eventually rated at the maximum, level 7.
Source: Japan Times
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/09/10/national/fukushima-2-scrambled-avoid-fate-sister-site-fukushima-1/ http://fukushimaemergencywhatcanwedo.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/fukushima-no-2-scrambled-to-avoid-same.html

September 11, 2014 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

On 11 March 2011 Fukushima nuclear workers were sure that they would die

Fukushima-aerial-viewHydrogen explosion left Fukushima No. 1 workers sure they would die  Fukushima Emergency what can we do ? Sep 10, 2014    FUKUSHIMA – This is the fourth in a series on the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe based on the accounts of people who struggled to contain the crisis in its early stages. Job titles and ages are as of March 2011.


Ground Self-Defense Force member Yuichi Sato was on a firetruck heading for the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant the day after it had been decimated by the March 11, 2011, tsunami — without being notified what his mission was.
That morning, the truck was in the town of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, where the 22-year-old was born.
He was several kilometers from his destination, but the familiar sights were gone — the walls of houses had collapsed, road surfaces were buckled and the town looked deserted.
“It was like a ghost town,” said Sato, who was part of the GSDF’s artillery regiment based in the prefecture. “I thought everyone must have rushed to escape.”
The regiment’s firefighting unit had received orders the night before to go to the nuclear plant. His squad members thought their task was to prepare for the possibility of a fire, but Sato, even though he had been told since childhood that nuclear power is safe, felt something out of the ordinary was happening.
When they arrived at the plant gates at around 7 a.m. on March 12, he was greeted by an acquaintance who works for Tokyo Electric Power Co.
Sato wondered why the Tepco employee was wearing a mask. He didn’t know at the time that the radiation level at the site was rising because a meltdown was occurring in the No. 1 reactor due to the loss of its key cooling functions.
After entering the emergency response office building, the firefighting squad was finally told what to do.
At the time, Tepco was using a single fire engine to inject water into reactor 1, but every time the truck had to return to a storage tank to be refilled, it meant halting the flow of water being sprayed into the unit.
The SDF’s firetrucks were supposed to assist in the operation.
Inside the main control room for reactors 1 and 2, workers were demoralized and exhausted after an attempt to open valves to reduce the pressure in reactor 1 ended in failure because of high radiation levels inside the reactor building.
It was imperative to open the valves to prevent a rupture of the containment vessel……….

At the main control room for reactors 1 and 2, Izawa instructed others to wear full-face masks, though no one knew yet what had happened at this point.
“I later found it was a hydrogen explosion at the building, but at the time, I thought the reactor containment vessel itself had exploded,” said Mitsuyuki Ono, 51, who was also in the room. “I thought it was all over.”
There were some 40 reactor operators in the room, but everyone was exhausted after trying to do all they could to prevent the worst.
Izawa decided to stay along with the more experienced workers, and let the others evacuate.
The roughly 10 workers who remained included Izawa, Ono and 48-year-old Kazuhiro Yoshida, whom Ono had once worked with in operating the No. 1 reactor.
Ono was wondering how he could communicate to his family what he thought might be his final moments. If he wrote anything down on paper, it would probably be incinerated if there was an explosion.
“Why don’t we take a photo at the end,” Yoshida proposed cheerfully, as if he had read Ono’s mind. Everyone seemed to liven up.
The room, which was dark due to the loss of power, was lit up with flashing cameras.
Ono, having a picture taken with Yoshida by his side, a junior operator whom he trusted and liked the most, thought: “If the radiation level rises or hot steam comes into the control room, I will probably die. But someone will find the camera some day. Then this picture will be the witness to my life.”
Source: Japan Times
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/09/10/national/hydrogen-explosion-left-fukushima-no-1-workers-sure-they-would-die/
http://fukushimaemergencywhatcanwedo.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/hydrogen-explosion-left-fukushima-no-1.html

September 11, 2014 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

At Fukushima nuclear emergency, safety inspectors were the first to flee

Fukushima-aerial-viewNuclear safety inspectors first to flee stricken Fukushima plant June 03, 2014 Asahi Shimbun, By SHINICHI SEKINE/ Staff Writer Safety inspectors with the government’s nuclear watchdog body were the first to flee when disaster struck the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.

The exodus of Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) officials compromised communications between the government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. at a critical juncture.

This unexpected turn of events shows that the government itself was not sure what role it should play in the nuclear crisis.

The plant manager, Masao Yoshida, who died last year of esophageal cancer, was questioned by the government’s Investigation Committee on the Accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations several months after the accident. The Asahi Shimbun obtained a copy of his testimony.

According to his testimony, on March 15, 2011, four days after the Fukushima plant was hit by the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, 90 percent of the workers in the plant withdrew to the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant some 10 kilometers away, ignoring Yoshida’s order to remain in and around the compound of the No. 1 facility.

Before that, however, NISA inspectors fled the site immediately after the accident even though they should have stayed to assess what steps were needed to deal with the accident. They went to makeshift government headquarters set up about five kilometers from the No. 1 plant.

On March 15, the makeshift facility was transferred to Fukushima city, some 50 kilometers away. With all government safety inspectors absent from the No. 1 nuclear power plant, the government had no direct means to grasp what was happening there. As a result, it was forced to depend entirely on TEPCO for information.

But channels of communication between the government and TEPCO did not go smoothly. This chaotic situation prompted the prime minister, Naoto Kan, to go to TEPCO’s head office in Tokyo. That was the catalyst for the government and TEPCO to jointly set up headquarters in Tokyo, 230 kilometers away, to deal with the nuclear accident.

The government’s investigation committee’s reports based on Yoshida’s recall of the events highlight the withdrawal of the No. 1 plant’s workers to the No. 2 plant even though the government’s safety inspectors were the first to flee……..http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201406030026

June 4, 2014 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, Fukushima continuing | 1 Comment

Slow progress on decontamination of Fukushima, most of the budget still unused

Ministry fails to use 77% of Fukushima decontamination budget; TEPCO refuses to pay Asahi Shimbun, 18 Oct 13, By TAKUYA KITAZAWA/ Staff Writer The Environment Ministry has failed to use 76.6 percent, or 247.2 billion yen, of its budget to decontaminate radioactive areas around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, the Board of Audit said.

Progress has been slow because opposition from local residents is making it difficult for the ministry to secure places to temporarily store the contaminated soil and debris collected in the work.

The ministry faces another problem: Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the stricken Fukushima plant, refuses to cover all the costs of the decontamination work as required under law.

The Board of Audit investigated the ministry’s budget of about 322.8 billion yen ($3.2 billion) for decontamination work for the period until March 2013, the end of fiscal 2012.

The results were released on Oct. 16………http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201310170058

October 18, 2013 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, environment, Japan | Leave a comment

Fukushima radiation release was made worse by operator error

Asahi: Tepco ‘failure’ may have increased Fukushima radiation release — Concern over ‘lethal levels’ escaping from ruptured containment vessel See also: NHK: “The unimaginable was happening” — Workers say part of Reactor 2 containment vessel destroyed — After alarming pressure readings, “we heard a loud bang… pressure is now zero” (VIDEO)
Title: TEPCO’s failure at math may have increased radiation release at Fukushima plant
Source: AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
Author: TOSHIHIRO OKUYAMA
Date: June 05, 2013

Workers miscalculated pressure levels inside a reactor during the early stages of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, leading to a reduction in cooling water and a possible increase in the volume of radioactive materials released.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. estimated the pressure inside the No. 2 reactor containment vessel at 400 kilopascals […]

The actual pressure was 40 kilopascals, far below the 101 kilopascals of the surrounding atmosphere, suggesting that a large amount of radioactive materials escaped from the reactor.

TEPCO later discovered the mistake but did not announce it. […]

“I think the airtightness (of the containment vessel) has not been maintained,” [Tadayuki Yokomura] said, according to a video footage of a TEPCO teleconference. […]

The difficulty in venting fueled concerns that mounting pressure could rupture the containment vessel and release lethal levels of radioactive materials.

Early on March 15, TEPCO temporarily evacuated all but the minimum required 70 or so workers from the plant compound. […]

See also: NHK: “The unimaginable was happening” — Workers say part of Reactor 2 containment vessel destroyed — After alarming pressure readings, “we heard a loud bang… pressure is now zero” (VIDEO)

June 8, 2013 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Shortage of workers at Fukushima nuclear plant resulted in high radiation exposure

Worker shortages revealed at nuclear plant after disaster
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T130113003104.htm   14 Jan
A manager’s calls for reinforcements to help contain a series of
crises at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power
plant were ignored, newly released TEPCO teleconference footage has
revealed.

Although Masao Yoshida, then manager of the plant damaged by the March
11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, repeatedly asked TEPCO headquarters
in Tokyo to send more workers, the request was not met in a timely
manner. As a result, the plant’s workers suffered extreme fatigue and
heightened radiation exposure, the footage showed. Continue reading

January 14, 2013 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, employment, Japan | Leave a comment

Human rights in Fukushima’s ongoing radiation crisis

Watch: Immediate attention from medical experts is needed for people in contaminated areas — Fukushima is ongoing crisis (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/watch-immediate-attention-medical-experts-needed-people-contaminated-areas-fukushima-ongoing-crisis-video
 November 27th, 2012
Title: How to protect the right to health and life of citizens from radiological contamination? – Ms. Mari INOUE, Esq., Human Rights Now New York
Source: ERF2012
Date: Nov 25, 2012
Ms. Mari INOUE, Esq., Human Rights Now New York: Recommendation by [the United Nation’s investigator] Mr. Grover will not be published until next summer. So it’s a long process and both of those processes are legally non-binding.

So how are we going to protect the rights of people, especially the right to health and life of people in contaminated area, because they need immediate assistance. They need immediate attention from medical communities and civil societies, because what’s going on in Fukushima is ongoing crisis.

November 28, 2012 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Five years or more before Fukushima nuclear plant safe enough to fully investigate

 Fukushima panel told some details will take five years to learn http://platts.com/RSSFeedDetailedNews/RSSFeed/ElectricPower/7048069   Washington (Platts) -William Freebairn,–7 Sep2012  Key details of how the accident at Japan’s Fukushima I nuclear plant played out have yet to be determined and may not be known for five years or more, when important parts of the plant are safer to enter, officials with the Japanese and US nuclear industries told a US National Academies review committee Thursday. Continue reading

September 10, 2012 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, Fukushima continuing, safety | Leave a comment

Early plan was for USA to drop concrete on Fukushima nuclear reactors

Former Japan Official: US army planned to entomb Fukushima reactors days after 3/11 — Given permission to use Yamagata airport  http://enenews.com/former-japan-official-us-army-planned-to-entomb-fukushima-reactors-days-after-311-given-permission-to-use-yamagata-airport  June 21st, 2012 a
By ENENews 1. There is elephant’s foot coming from reactor 4, which is produced from nuclear explosion.ormer NHK news broadcaster Hori Jun interviewed Mr. Matsuda, policy secretary of former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, with summary translation by Fukushima Diary:

2. In the night of 3/14/2011, Japanese government and US army were planning to drop coolant onto Fukushima plants by airplane and cover the plants with sarcophagus.

At 10:00AM of 3/15/2011, when Kan, former Japanese prime minister was in the headquarters of Tepco, Kitazawa, Minister of Defense gave US army the permission to use Yamagata airport.

[…]

US army was planning to fly to Fukushima plants. To complete this mission, Japanese government needed to evacuate all the Tepco workers from Fukushima plants but they ended up not removing Tepco from the plant area, the plan was not realized after all.

[…]

August 17, 2012 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011 | Leave a comment

Nuclear danger very real – at Fukushima and at San Onofre

Nuclear Dread On Both Sides Of The Pacific IndyBay by Michael Steinberg Jul 14th, 2012  Nuclear problems are still growing on both sides of the Pacific, at Fukushima and San Onofre…….. Japan Ignored Ominous Signs Continue reading

July 16, 2012 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, USA | Leave a comment

It’s getting hotter in Fukushima’s supposedly “cold shutdown” nuclear plant

Rising temperatures trigger concern at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant Telegraph UK 7 Feb 12, Water temperatures at Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant have risen more than 20 degrees Celsius over the past week.  By Danielle Demetriou in Tokyo 07 Feb 2012 Concerns are growing in relation to conditions at the plant, in northeast Japan, which was declared in a state of cold shutdown in December last year. Continue reading

February 8, 2012 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Freezing weather causes 8 tons of water leakage at Fukushima nuclear plant

Freezing Fukushima Nuclear Plant Leaks Water TOKYO, Japan, January 30, 2012 (ENS) – The temperature fell to minus 8.7 degrees Celsius on Sunday morning near Japan’s crippled nuclear power plant, causing water pipes and valve seals to rupture, leaking tons of water.

Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant discovered Sunday that the damaged pipes spilled nearly eight tons of water from 14 locations. Two additional water leaks were discovered today, according to plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company……
http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jan2012/2012-01-30-01.html

February 1, 2012 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011 | Leave a comment

New report on the continuing nuclear disaster at Fukushima

Nuclear disaster response failed: report 9 News Dec 26 2011 Yuri Kageyama Japan’s response to the nuclear crisis that followed the March 11 tsunami was confused and riddled with problems, a report revealed on Monday. The response included an erroneous assumption that an emergency cooling system was working and a delay in disclosing dangerous radiation leaks.

The disturbing picture of harried and bumbling workers and government officials scrambling to respond to the problems at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant was depicted in the report detailing a government investigation……
Sadder still was how the government dallied in relaying information to the public, such as using evasive language to avoid admitting serious meltdowns at the reactors, the report said.

The government also delayed disclosure of radiation data in the area, unnecessarily exposing entire towns to radiation when they could have evacuated, the report found.

The government recommended changes so utilities will respond properly to serious accidents.

It recommended separating the nuclear regulators from the unit that promotes atomic energy, echoing frequent criticism since the disaster, which left 20,000 people dead or missing.

Japan’s nuclear regulators were in the same ministry that promotes the industry, but they will be moved to the environment ministry next year to ensure more independence.

The report acknowledged people were still living in fear of radiation spewed into the air and water, as well as radiation in the food they eat. Thousands have been forced to evacuate and have suffered monetary damage from radiation contamination, it said.

“The nuclear disaster is far from over,” the report said.
http://news.ninemsn.com.au/world/8395190/japan-probe-finds-nuclear-disaster-respons

December 27, 2011 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011 | Leave a comment

Working at Fukushima nuclear plant likely to be a death sentence?

 Government was likely avoiding the huge task of evacuating major cities like Iwaki and Fukushima.

He also expressed concern for those working to recover the plant. He said: “Working at Fukushima is equivalent to being given an order to die”…..

Fukushima nuclear shutdown: ‘No progress is being made’ ZDNet By Hana Stewart-Smith | December 16, 2011Summary: The Japanese government says that troubled nuclear plant
Fukushima is under control. But an undercover journalist suggests that no progress is being made towards recovery.

The Japanese government announced publicly today that the troubled Fukushima plant is now under control, having achieved a ‘cold shutdown‘….This is reassuring news for the public after the reactor sprung a leak earlier this month, pouring out an estimated 45 tonnes
of radioactive water, which may have reached the sea….
However, freelance journalist Tomohiko Suzuki, who worked undercover at Fukushima for over a month, disputed this news.      Suzuki spoke to reporters at a Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan conference yesterday, telling a very different story to the one officially given
by the Government. Continue reading

December 19, 2011 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, Japan, spinbuster | Leave a comment

The term “cold shutdown” is not appropriate to the Fukushima nuclear reactors

Japanese Government speeds rezoning of contaminated areas. Paul Langley’s nuclear history blog 18 Dec 11  The appropriateness of the use of the term “cold shutdown” in relation to the Fukushima reactors in meltdown has been discussed in an editorial by the Mainichi Daily News, Japan, 17 Dec 2011. It is term applicable to a reactor in normal mode, not disaster failure meltdown mode.

The pressure vessels are essentially in a vastly abnormal state, and although the Japanese  Government  states venting of radionuclides has “significantly” stopped, things are still very abnormal in the Fukushima reactors. Neither TEPCO nor the Japanese  Government understands the true state of the escaped fuel, nor how much the reactor vessels have been eroded. Continue reading

December 19, 2011 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, Japan, spinbuster | Leave a comment