The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

How the Fukushima nuclear disaster happened

The Worst Disaster That You’ll Never Hear Anything About, Criticl, 2 Aug 15 The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster embodies one of the worst man-made calamities in human history that day-by-day receives a dearth of coverage. Three nuclear reactors melting down on March 11th, 2011 ushered in the beginning of one of the most effective and insidious works of misinformation and obfuscation of reality that has been seen in recent memory.

The impetus for the disaster arose from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, which was estimated to be the most powerful earthquake to ever hit the island in recorded history. The magnitude of the 869 Jogan Sanriku quake (the previous record holder) is only an approximation due to the lack of seismograph technology, nonetheless the Tohoku earthquake was more powerful than the plant was designed to withstand.

Nuclear reactors are designed to shutdown at the slightest event, quickly reducing the amount of heat produced; yet any heat inside the reactor (comprised of the radioactive decay of short lived fission products) is still a magnanimous amount. Backup diesel generators were quickly ushered into action at Fukushima after outside power was destroyed by the quake in order to keep the reactors cool to prevent a meltdown.

However, standard operation procedures for the plant flew out the window when tsunami waves of 14-20 meters struck the Fukushima prefecture shortly after the earthquake, rendering the 5.7-meter seawall beyond useless and knocking out the generators. Interestingly enough, the nearby Onagawa plant was saved by a 14.8-meter seawall despite being struck by a more powerful wave. Yanosuki Hirai fought bureaucracy for years that clamored for the same 5.7-meter seawall at Onagawa, and got his higher wall, remarking, “Corporate ethics is different from compliance, just being ‘not guilty’ is not enough.” The wall was remarkably effective to the point that local residents sought shelter in the plant’s gymnasium after their homes were destroyed by the wave.

The resulting influx of water into the Fukushima reactor led to a station blackout, meaning the operators lost all monitors and the ability to remotely control the reactor. Isolation condensers can cool the reactor with no electricity as long as the condenser is filled with water. Regrettably, operators had no idea that the reactor was quickly running out of water and that the valves opening the condensers were not working, rendering the first line of defence against a potential meltdown useless.

Authorities decided next to depressurize the reactors and inject water from fire engines to flood the reactors, yet unseen diversions to steam condensers via small bypasses meant injected water was not sufficient to prevent an overheating of the core. Reactor 1 saw a hydrogen explosion resulting from molten fuel cladding three hours after the tsunami. Vents and piping intended to filter hydrogen were either severely damaged by the earthquake or unable to operate due to a lack of power.

Unit 2 and the Unit 3 Reactor Core had steam-powered turbines that would circulate cooling water, but suffered a hydrogen explosion due to the pressure in the reactor becoming too low for the turbines to operate. Operators were too inexperienced to properly inject water via the fire engines, which again resulted in a meltdown of both reactors. Leading the cleanup efforts several days later, Japanese authorities quickly created a temporary cover over Unit 1 and begin to filter out contaminated water and repair the other components of the reactors, while devising a plan to contain exposed radioactive material from the damaged reactors……………. Like what you see?

August 5, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, Reference | Leave a comment

Unable to get volunteer locations, Japan will now impose nuclear waste sites

wastes-Fukushima-for-incineMETI changes tactics after search for nuclear waste host proves futile

KYODO The government will select potential areas to host nuclear dump sites instead of waiting for communities to volunteer, according to the revised policy on permanent disposal of high-level radioactive waste that was adopted by the Cabinet on Friday.

The revision, the first in seven years, was prompted after towns, villages and cities throughout Japan snubbed requests to host nuclear waste dumps. The government has been soliciting offers since 2002.

The move is seen as a sign that the government wants to address the matter as it proceeds with its pursuit of reactor restarts. All commercial units have largely sat idle since the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 plant in 2011.

It remains unclear when a final depository could be built, because the policy mentions no time frame. The government also plans to expand its storage capacity for spent fuel by building new interim facilities as a short-term fix.

“We will steadily proceed with the process as (resolving the problem is) the current generation’s responsibility,” minister of economy, trade and industry Yoichi Miyazawa told reporters, adding there will be “quite a few” candidate sites.

They will be chosen on scientific grounds, the policy says.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration is seeking to revive atomic power, although the majority of the public remains opposed in light of the Fukushima disaster, which left tens of thousands homeless. Critics have attacked the government for promoting atomic power without resolving where all the waste will end up.

Permanent disposal of high-level nuclear waste requires that a depository be built more than 300 meters underground, where the materials must lie for up to 100,000 years until radiation levels fall to the point where there is no harm to humans or the environment.

About 17,000 tons of spent fuel is stored on the premises of nuclear plants and elsewhere in Japan, but some would run out of space in three years if all the reactors got back online.

Under the revision, the government said it will allow future generations to retrieve high-level waste from such facilities should policy changes or new technologies emerge.

Worldwide, only Finland and Sweden have been able to pick final depository sites. Finland is building the world’s first permanent disposal site for high-level waste in Olkiluoto, aiming to put it into operation around 2020.

But many other countries with nuclear plants are struggling to find a site for such a facility. In the United States, President Barack Obama decided in 2009 to call off a plan to build a disposal site in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain due to local opposition.

May 23, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, politics, wastes | 1 Comment

Release of radioactive particles from Fukushima was in fact greater than from Chernobyl

Cesium-137Gov’t report reveals Fukushima radioactive release much larger than Chernobyl — Japan reactors could have emitted nearly four times as much cesium-137

Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, funded by the Korean government, July 2014:
  • The Fukushima accident [led to a] release of huge radioactivity
  • It is reported… 4 times more radioactivity was released to the sea than to the atmosphere
  • Best-estimate source term of 137Cs… released into the atmosphere, is about 4%
  • Best-estimate release fraction of the 137Cs inventory that flowed into the sea…about 16%
  • Of the 4% inventory of 137Cs released into the atmosphere, only 0.8% was deposited in the Japanese land and the other 3.2% was transported to the sea or other areas
  • The inventory… available for release in the units 1-3… the time of accident [was] 7.6 – 8.2 x 10^17 [760 – 820 quadrillion] Bq for 137Cs
  • Because of the geographic location of the nuclear power plant — at the beach of the Pacific Ocean… more than 80% of the radioactivity released from the crippled reactors flowed into the sea

To determine the best estimate of the total 137Cs that was released into the environment from Fukushima, the 137Cs release fraction (4% atmosphere, 16% ocean) is multiplied by the 137Cs inventory for the 3 melted reactor cores (760 to 820 quadrillion Bq):

  • Ocean Release of 137Cs from Fukushima: 121.6 to 131.2 quadrillion Bq (16% x 760 to 820 quadrillion Bq)
  • Atmospheric Release of 137Cs from Fukushima: 30.4 to 32.8 quadrillion Bq (4% x 760 to 820 quadrillion Bq)
  • Total Release of 137Cs into the Environment from Fukushima: 152 to 164 quadrillion Bq
  • Total Release of 137Cs into the Environment from Chernobyl: 70 to 85 quadrillion Bq

However, the 137Cs inventory of 760 to 820 quadrillion Bq used by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute is significantly lower than the U.S. Department of Energy calculated:

  • DOE’s Total 137Cs Inventory in Reactors 1-3: 1.3E+18 Bq (1,300 quadrillion Bq)
  • Ocean 137Cs Release from Fukushima: 208 quadrillion Bq (16% x 1,300 quadrillion)
  • Atmospheric 137Cs Release from Fukushima: 52 quadrillion Bq (4% x 1,300 quadrillion)
  • Total 137Cs Release into the Environment from Fukushima: 260 quadrillion Bq
  • Total 137Cs Release into the Environment from Chernobyl: 70 to 85 quadrillion Bq

See also: Fukushima has released 80 Quadrillion Bq of cesium-137 — “The radioactive plume itself has actually arrived… it’s already here” on west coast of N. America (AUDIO)

October 23, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

shock and collapse – the plight of Fukushima nuclear plant officials in March 2011

Leader of Fukushima plant “started staggering… mumbling ‘It’s all over’” before last reactor melted — Appears to collapse, has visions while motionless on floor — Top official “bursts into tears” at meeting — No way to prevent ‘utter catastrophe’ — ‘Chilling’ sound soon heard, ‘gaping hole’ in reactor suspected
Kyodo News (Part 9), Sep 23, 2014 (emphasis added) : Reactor 2′s cooling system finally stopped functioning at 1:25 p.m. on March 14… [In 5 hours]… the water level had drained to 3.7 meters below the top of the nuclear fuel… leaving it fully exposed. There was also no signthe seawater was entering the reactor… firetrucks that were supposed to be injecting water into the reactor had run out of fuel… [Fukushima chief Masao] Yoshida would later recall that this felt like a “turning point,” beyond which “we had run out of all options and I thought I might really die.”… Yoshida went up to [the many workers on the 2nd floor] and said: “Thank you for dealing with the situation until now. It is OK to go home.”…  8:30 p.m… Yoshida then asked [if] there was any place people could evacuate to… Yoshida [was told] that the No. 2 plant was ready… With workers unable to operate the venting valves, the pressure continued to build… an experienced leader… felt that the reactor’s containment vessel could break at any time

Kyodo News (Part 10), Sep 23, 2014:: A [Tepco] senior official broke down and wept in the prime minister’s office when the utility felt it had exhausted all options to prevent an utter catastrophe... bursting into tears… Shortly after 4 a.m. on March 15 [Japan was] facing a potential rupture of the reactor 2 containment vessel… [Prime Minister Naoto] Kan soonrealized it was too late to rein in the crisis… a chilling sound swept through the response office at 6:14 a.m, albeit duller than that of the two previous hydrogen blasts. Those present felt their blood freeze as they were told by reactor operators that the pressure inside the reactor 2 suppression chamber, connected to the containment vessel, had dropped to zero… radioactive steam could pour out into the external environment, leaving no safe place inside the plant or in the surrounding area. “The suppression chamber might have a gapping hole… [Yoshida] instantly decided it was time to evacuate the site.

Testimony reveals odd behavior just before ‘chilling sound’ and pressure dropping to zero at Unit 2: Early on March 15, silence engulfed the emergency response office as the point of no return nearedYoshida stood up and started staggering around, mumbling to himself, “It’s all over.”… Yoshida was searching for the right time to allow Tepco employees to leave the plant, except for a skeleton crew… As he returned to his seat, he leaned back in his chair, crossed his arms and closed his eyes… he was thinking about what might happen if the reactor 2 containment vessel failed, discharging a catastrophic amount of radioactive materials… He could not think of a way to avoid such a scenario. [Shiro] Hikita… sawYoshida’s body slide from the chair onto the floor. At first he thought Yoshida had collapsed but then realized he was sitting cross-legged as if meditating. With his eyes closed,Yoshida did not move for several minutes. Yoshida later said he was calling to mind the faces of his longest-serving colleagues: “There were about 10 or so. I thought those guys might be willing to die with me.”

See also: Secret Fukushima Testimony: Plant boss considered disemboweling himself after blasts… “I should kill myself” — “I was in despair… panicking… I could not afford to logically think” — Saw smoke at Unit 3 before it exploded, and “figured this was the end”

September 26, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

The Fukushima nuclear emergency DID cause radiation sickness

radiation-warningVIDEO: Gov’t experts highly suspicious of Japan’s claim that nobody suffered acute radiation syndrome after Fukushima — So many workers were ill they had to lay on cardboard after running out of beds — Officials “repeatedly talked of death” — CBS: There were reports of people with radiation sickness

Japan Times, Sept. 17, 2014 (emphasis added): [Deceased Fukushima Daiichi chief Masao Yoshida] repeatedly talks of “death” in the initial days of the crisis as the realization sinks in that the nuclear fuel had already started to melt.

Mainichi, Sept 12, 2014: “Nobody came to help us. I am still full of resentment and bitterness,” Yoshida said… heaping scorn on [the] TEPCO President… and calling him ”that man.”

Xinhua, Sept 11, 2014: Masao Yoshida [revealed] the government had utterly failed to understand the gravity of the workers’ situation at the plant… three days into the crisis the chief had lost hope and was losing his grip on the situation… politicians and TEPCO officials at the headquarters were clueless as to the dire predicament he and his workers were in, including those who had been exposed to potentially lethal levels of radiation.

Kyodo News, Sept 14, 2014: [Satoru] Hayashizaki and his coworker opened the door to the [No. 3] suppression chamber’s room… “My hands, covered by rubber gloves, instantly got hot”…Hayashizaki felt groggy… he put his right foot down on it only to see the rubber sole of his shoe melt instantly, leaving a black smear… He was alarmed to see [his dosimeter number] rising rapidly, even though he was [back] in the control room… everyone else’s dosimeters were rising… [He] thought he might die… and started writing a farewell letter.

Kyodo News, Sept. 14, 2014: Mitsuhiro Matsumoto, 47, was outside during both explosions… he [became] unable to believe anyone or any of the information he received. “I completely lost my will to fight”… Many [workers] had already absorbed more than 100 millisieverts… A man injured by the rubble was soon brought in on a stretcher… there were no doctors… Another man [was] in a state of panic… Those feeling ill were taken to a meeting room… Tepco quickly ran out of mattresses and had to put down cardboard for them to lie on…  the door closed behind [Yumiko Kato and a reactor operator] shouted: “Is that an explosion? Again?” He then clasped his arms around his knees and trembled, muttering “I am afraid, afraid, afraid.”… “I want to go home,” a young female Tepco employee said as she started to cry…[Kato] said, “Let’s believe in our people, because they are working very hard.” The situation, however, only got worse, cornering everyone at the plant.

IRSN, France’s Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (at 11:00 in): “At first sight there was no acute radiation syndrome observed in the weeks following the accident, , as was the case of the first rescue workers during the Chernobyl accident. These figures are to be taken with great caution because of severe degradations due to the tsunami… Medical checkups are now implemented by the Japanese authorities.” >> Watch the video here

Contrary to IRSN’s claim about medical checkups, NHK recently reported, “Screening of workers is left up to the contractors […] they’re not obliged to submit data. [A gov’t adviser says they need] a centralized system to collect health data right away.” And according to the Asahi Shimbun, “Many companies involved have failed to conduct medical examinations.. [It’s now] impossible to check whether workers have suffered health problems.”

CBS News discussed radiation sickness after the explosions: Prof. Cham Dallas, a nuclear energy expert, you’ve been in contact with both the Japanese and the US government throughout this process… Let’s talk about radiation exposure… Dallas: “There’s some disconnects here. We’re being told by the Japanese government that the radiation levels are very low… We have reports of people with radiation sickness. That’s the disconnect, usually it takes days for radiation [sickness]” >> Watch the broadcast here

September 20, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment | Edit

How Australians pay twice over for electricity infrastructure

DORC rort: The art of getting energy infrastructure paid for twice, SMH,  September 19, 2014  Business columnist “…… will hear how you have been paying for something, on a quarterly basis for the past 10 years, which you have already paid for. We are all victims of a high-brow rort by governments and energy companies.

While the consulting industry thrives on selling so-called expert valuations to justify this rort, Sydney University finance professor David Johnstone says it should end…….

energy companies are valuing old assets such as gas pipelines – things that consumers have already paid for – as if they were brand-spanking new. We, the mug punters, are lumbered with the cost on our power bills.

This is the DORC rort (depreciated optimised replacement cost), its moniker alone sufficient to discourage further inquiry.

Suffice to say that a reasonable thing for regulators to do might simply be to value assets at their cost, or to recognise only what their owners actually spend. Suffice to say that in Singapore and Hong Kong they would not be silly enough to use DORC, yet large corporations from these places are here enjoying riskless 10 per cent returns by stinging we mug Aussies twice for access to old gas pipelines, things that were paid for, and privatised, years ago……

why are assets that are already in private hands given the same favourable regulatory treatment? “I think it comes down to ideology as well as vested interests,” Johnstone says. “Economists fall in love their own models and crave the authority of being scientists.”

September 20, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Masao Yoshida’s fears of nuclear catastrophe

Top-Secret Fukushima Interview: All the melted nuclear fuel will escape from containment vessel … it’s completely exposed — Nuclear annihilation of entire eastern part of Japan envisioned
 Asahi Shimbun,

Sept 12, 2014 : Yoshida feared nuclear ‘annihilation’ of eastern Japan, testimony shows Continue reading

September 15, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Testimony reveals despair of Fukushima Nuclear Plant Chief Yoshida

Secret Fukushima Testimony Revealed: Plant chief considered “disemboweling himself” after explosions… “I should kill myself” — Smoke seen at No. 3 reactor before blast, “I figured this was the end of plant” — At start of crisis “I was in despair… panicking… I could not afford to logically think”

The Times (UK), Sept. 11 2014: Hero of Fukushima nuclear disaster considered hara-kiri … [Masao] Yoshida describes his horror on realising the reactors faced meltdown… [He] contemplated ritually disembowelling himself after an explosion that appeared to have killed dozens of his men… the manager of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, made the admission in recently released secret testimony…

Former Fukushima Daiichi plant manager Masao Yoshida’s interview with gov’t investigation committee, Yomiuri Shimbun, published Sept. 10, 2014:

No. 1 Reactor — “I was in despair… I was panicking… I could not afford to logically think”

  • YOSHIDA: “To be honest, I was stunned [the plant lost all AC power]. I thought the situation was grave… My first thought was, ‘It’s a calamity.’… I was in despair… The No. 1 reactor fell into a state of crisis first, and then the No. 3 reactor. A crisis [like an explosion] could have erupted at any time… honestly, I was panicking… the No. 1 reactor exploded… Everything was in turmoil, and I could not afford to logically think.”

No. 3 Reactor Explosion — “I thought I should kill myself… I should commit harakiri”

  • Q: TEPCO’s records show radiation levels registered 300 millisieverts within the consecutive doors leading into the [No. 3] reactor building, and also that there was whitish smoke nearby… YOSHIDA: “Yes… before an explosion took place there… I assumed that the No. 3 reactor’s fuel had been damaged… and that steam and other leaks from its container were starting to fill its building… I figured this was the end of the plant. That is to say, I wanted to inject water sooner, but in the end, a range of circumstances piled up and conspired against us… I explained that the No. 3 reactor also had its fuel rod damaged and that, based on the pressure in the containment vessel, it was approaching the same condition the No. 1 reactor had been in. There was a risk of another explosion at 9:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. on March 14, so I called for an evacuation of all personnel at that time… However, when discussing this with headquarters, I was told, “Just how long are you evacuating?” I told them that there was a risk of an explosion, and there was no way we could put personnel on the ground… The pressure on the containment vessel had dropped a bit… I issued the order to go back, and almost as we were doing so, it exploded. They said there were about 40-plus people missing… I thought I should kill myself at that point. If that report were true, and some 40-plus people were really dead, I thought I should commit harakiri.”

No. 2 Reactor — “The containment vessel might have been destroyed”

  • YOSHIDA: “That morning [of March 15]… we got word that the [pressure in the No. 2 reactor’s suppression chamber] had reached zero… the containment vessel might have broken. Thinking conservatively, this meant the vessel might have been destroyed, and that popping sound would suggest some sort of breakage… I decided to treat this as an emergency and issued an evacuation order, leaving only core [personnel]… I gave an order for all other personnel to temporarily evacuate from the site… the prime minister came at, I think, a bit after 5 a.m… I stated that I was evacuating personnel. There was pushback that the containment vessel would surely not explode because there was still pressure, but I countered that the pressure gauges could not be trusted.”

See also: Deceased Fukushima Chief: “I thought we were really dead” — Fear of “nuclear doom for eastern Japan” — “A total failure in which the fuel melts and breaches… containment vessel”

September 13, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Japanese government slow to recognise dire situation of Fukushima nuclear plant

Fukushima plant chief rapped gov’t for not sharing sense of crisis, Fukushima Emergency What Can We Do  by  September 11, 2014

The late chief of the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant criticized politicians in his testimony, saying they completely failed to grasp the dire situation that workers faced at the height of the crisis, and that they only brought about further confusion, according to documents disclosed by the government Thursday…….

September 13, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

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

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

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……..

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

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)
 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   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