Earthquake Damage At Fukushima – is Industry’s Narrative Truthful or Certain?

I am again going to contrast the statements made by Barry Brook in regard to the events and outcomes at Fukushima Daiichi in 2011 with the facts as presented by Mark Willacy. These facts are published in Willacy’s book, “Fukushima – Japan’s tsunami and the inside story of the nuclear meltdowns”, Willacy, M., Pan Macmillan, copyright 2013, Mark Willacy.

However, I will also include information related to the events which were first published and discussed in 2011. This post will take some time to complete.

The TV interview in which Prof Brook gives his opinion, specifically in relation to tsunami protection (in this post) is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFs_-8DtZvo . Prof has written and spoken much about these matters and the reader can easily find of the Brook view on the internet if you are interested.

To quote Brook, in part, from the youtube link above:

Prof. Brook: “I think they (events) show the vulnerability of any human infrastructure to the forces of nature. Especially when they are unleashed with such fury as they were with that massive earthquake, the largest one to hit Japan in recorded times, and a 10 metre tsunami. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect any infrastructure along a coastline like that to survive an event like that. But what it does highlight is that decisions were made back in the ‘60s, when that nuclear power plant was planned and built, they did not anticipate the scale of the natural disaster that occurred here.”

Prof. Brook: “They predicted up to a 6.5 metres tsunami and protected against that. But of course, as events turned out, the tsunami was even bigger than that. The tsunami washed over the plant. It seems like it damaged the diesel generators that were supplying backup power . There was a chain of diesel generators in fact, each one a redundant generator for the one before it. All of those were destroyed by the tsunami. The fuel tanks that would supply the diesel for many days for them seemed to be washed away. And the emergency cooling water as well was also damaged such that they ended up having to use sea water to cool it. The design of the 40 year old plant actually survived the earthquake. They were designed to survive an earthquake 7 times that what they were hit by and yet they survived and it was the tsunami that got them.”

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFs_-8DtZvo ABC TV One Plus One: Barry Brook on nuclear power’s future after Fukushima, posted Published on 18 Mar 2011.

end quotes from Prof Brook at the link above.

Was the tsunami the only thing that “got them”, as Barry says? What effect if any did the earthquake have on the radiological outcome at the plant and in Japan?

The earthquake generated the tsunami. What else did the earthquake cause?

In this blog I have included posts which give the IAEA considerations for the electrical grids which are connected to nuclear power plants. The IAEA states that the level of engineering and resilience built into such grids may be a significant additional cost for any nation considering generation to nuclear power.

It comes as no surprise then the electrical grid connected to the Fukushima Daiichi NPP failed for two reasons. 1. The earthquake caused all the nuclear reactors connected to the same grid to rapidly shut down. Thus the earthquake caused a blackout due to cessation of electrical generation. 2. The physical grid infrastructure – poles and wires – were damaged by the earthquake. At Fukushima this meant that more than one of the reactors was physically separated from the grid by the earthquake.

It can therefore be seen that the earthquake meant A. Fukushima Diiachi could not generate nuclear electricity as the quake had shut the reactors down. B. The Fukushima Diiachi Nuclear Power Plant was in Station Blackout for one reason: earth quake damage to nuclear infrastructure – the electrical grid.

The only hope for the quake affected nuclear plants (those in quake caused shut down, including Fukushima Daiichi) was the layered (defence in depth) multi systems which were supposed to the keep the reactors safe. These included A: Emergency Diesel generators. B. Rechargible batteries C. In the case of GE reactors, an emergency steam turbine attached physically to each reactor pressure. This turbine powered an emergency pump which pumped emergency coolant through the core via a part of the Emergency Core Cooling System (ECCS). D. Other ECCS systems. These systems included heat exchangers (radiators) located on the roof of each reactor.

It is at this level of hardware that we must look for physical quake damage to structures. Among the most vulnerable are coolant pipes. The status of “Station Blackout” is a serious one.

I will now turn again to Mark Willacy and the people he interviewed, as recorded in his book:

“But it will be many years before the Japanese people know exactly what happened at Fukushima Daiichi on 11 March 2011. One of the key mysteries was role, if any, the magnitude 9 earthquake played in damaging the plant’s reactor cooling systems. Until lethal levels of radiation inside the reactors fall and workers can carry out comprehensive investigations, the truth about the tremor’s impact will remain a subject of conjecture and contention…..” Wallacy, M., “Fukushima”, page 112.

In its public statements the nuclear industry is adamant that no nuclear disaster would have occurred had the plant not been hit by a tsunami so huge and so powerful that nothing could have been done from the late 1960s until February 2011 to defend against it. Because no one could imagine such a tsunami to have been a rational and predictable threat to the Nuclear Power Plant. Not even Barry Brook could imagine it. Apparently. And therefore, no one who, due to their relevant academic qualifications and experience, could imagine such a thing, would not be listened to by an industry which, since 1945, has claimed that it KNOWS EVERYTHING about nuclear reactors. The industry can’t imagine a tsunami which did occur, it can’t imagine piping and valve damage which might or might not have occurred, it can’t, despite the findings of the Ergen report of 1968 in ECCS and meltdown, imagine the mass production of reactor core meltdowns from a single event, and it claims everything done since has been roaringly successful. At the time of the disaster the British Chief Scientist claimed that the meltdown would be insignificant and would be of concern for just a few hours and for a few metres around the plant. Yet, five years after the disaster this was written in an academic paper by a qualified expert: “More than 5 years since the disaster, internal exposure levels on the order of several thousand or several tens of thousands of becquerels are still being detected in those who regularly consume wild boar, wild birds, wild vegetables, or mushrooms that are highly contaminated, with a frequency of about several persons per 10,000 people (Tsubokura et al., 2014).” Source: Exposure and current health issues in Minamisoma M. Tsubokura Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital, 2-54-6 Takamicho, Haramachi-ku, Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan; e-mail: tsubokura-tky@umin.ac.jp

No doubt Barry Brook might grown his own food if he lived in Minamisoma. He believes, it seems, and in my opinion, everything the nuclear industry tells him. If I lived in Minamisoma I would grow my own food under quite specific conditions. Being a graduate of an agricultural High School being a bit of a help to me. I topped the school in Agricultural Science in my final year. Would I live there at all? People love the land they were born upon in any nation. Such is the curse of nuclear power that some people pined for their land and became ill upon evacuation. Had they stayed they would have been at risk of reduced life expectancy due to un-remediated fallout. The cleanup in Japan is still on going. See previous posts. As I have pointed out previously, the declared extent of decontamination in Japan has enable some evacuees to return to their homes. The residual contamination remaining in those cleanup areas being about the same, roughly, as the Maralinga lands in South Australia after cleanup there. The risk of radiogenic cancer in the Maralinga Lands in 1 in 50,000 over 50 years. The owners of the Maralinga lands had been suffering forced removal from their lands from the 1950s until the 1990s, with full return of lands completed in the 21st century. Many people died waiting to return.

In Japan many people are concerned that they have been economically forced to return to places prior to a proper cleanup. In Australia, many people are concerned that the Maralinga cleanup was a dud, cheap, and insufficient. As usual vitrification in nuclear residues resulted in explosions and so elements including plutonium were simply buried in trenches. In Japan, great piles of contaminated material, so active the piles have to be shielded with sand bag shielding in order to protected nuclear garbage workers, remain in the open air. A minority of the material is under cover in interim storage.

But all of this is claimed to be of no consequence according to the nuclear industry.

Since the 1990s, when the Maralinga cleanup was designed around the new intervention level proposed by the ICRP planned for the 21 century, many Australians have stated that the new levels allowed are too high. And that the risk at Maralinga is too high. The ICRP intervention level is 10 mSv. The actual level aimed at Maralinga was 5 mSv. Japan complies with the guidelines. And that fact is in actual reality no comfort for many many affected Japanese people. No comfort at all. Because those people do not trust either nuclear authorities or their own government. Given the fact that the Japanese people are renowned for their loyalty and compliance, what has caused the change? Was it too many nuclear lies? See “Protection of the public in situations of prolonged radiation exposure. The application of the Commission’s system of radiological protection to controllable radiation exposure due to natural sources and long-lived radioactive residues.” which is shown in abstract here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10962071 The fact of the matter is were it not for nuclear industry, having to cope with living in areas contaminated with long lived fission products would not be a possibility or actuality outside of a nuclear war. And that also remains a possibility. See also : “Application of ICRP Recommendations to the Protection of People Living in Long-term Contaminated Areas after a Nuclear Accident or Radiation Emergency
Per Hedemann-Jensen Head of Department of Radiation and Nuclear Safety
Danish Decommissioning, Risø
” at https://gnssn.iaea.org/RTWS/general/Shared%20Documents/Environmental%20Assessment/TM-52829%2013-17%20June%202016/Presentations%2014%20June%202016/09-TM-52829_Hedemann-Jensen-3.pdf which states in reference to the IAEA: “Publication 111: 3.1. Justification of protection strategies Para 27: Justification of protection strategies goes far beyond the scope of radiological protection as they may also have various economic, political, environmental, social,
and psychological consequences” The Danish authorities comment:

“Comment: If radiation protection guidance on justification of
protection strategies is going to be overwhelmed or
discounted by other considerations than radiological
factors, it raises the question of the ICRP recommendations
and other international guidance.” The situation is such in parts of nuclear industry afflicted Japan that hospitals cannot get staff. Meanwhile, evacuees have been economically forced back to their homes by government. In at least one area of Japan, this has compromised the treatment of diabetes. Many questions about both the accident and consequences remain, and distrust of official information remains among many affected communities. Social and other factors are now empowering communities in Japan to question government edicts based upon IAEA and ICEP recommendations. A court case underway in Japan related to economically return of people to land now remediated to ICRP standard according to IAEA procedures highlights the fact that in a democracy citizens remain free to dispute government decisions. Or “If radiation protection guidance on justification of protection strategies is going to be overwhelmed or
discounted by other considerations than radiological factors, it raises the question of the ICRP recommendations and other international guidance.”
Source: Per Hedemann-Jensen Head of Department of Radiation and Nuclear Safety
Danish Decommissioning, Risø. Nuclear industry responds by calling those who disagree with the ICRP and IAEA in these matters “radiophobes”. The Japanese government responds to the disagreement coming from its people with more and more imposed secrecy, and greater compliance with international nuclear bodies. Looked at in another way, the Japanese government obeys the IAEA and ICRP. However there is nothing in the Japanese Constitution, I imagine, which gives either IAEA or the ICRP any authority over the Japanese people. No ordinary Japanese person ever voted for government by IAEA and ICRP.

It is little wonder the world nuclear industry via its local mouthpieces and puppets in every land continues to claim the effects of the nuclear disaster have no consequence. Nor is it any surprise that the nuclear industry continues to illegally diagnose opponents to its dictates and insults as being “radiophobic”.

I turn again to Willacy’s book:

“Reactor 1 at Fukushima Daiichi was the first version [of its type] , and it is possible that its earthquake resistance was a little more vulnerable than the other reactors,” Naotaka Takamatsu. Takamatsu was the deputy general of the Seismic Safety Division of JNES, one of the main government agencies charged with carrying out reactor inspections.” (Willacy, Fukushima, pages 112 and 113).

Takamatsu spent the 25 years prior to that designing quake proof piping and other things for nuclear reactors. This included the piping systems for reactors 2 and 3 for the Onagawa Nuclear Plant. This person was Japan’s leading expert on the impact of earthquake upon nuclear power plants.

Willacy says this of Mr. Takamatsu “He was deeply concerned that not enough that not enough investigation into the possible damage caused to the Fukushima Daiichi reactors by the earthquake.” (Willacy, Fukushima, page 113).

Willacy quotes Takamatsu thus : “TEPCO has not assessed how equipment … at Fukushima Daiichi shook during the earthquake and whether they were functioning after the earthquake or not…I regret this has not progressed….I just think they should make more effort.” (Willacy, Fukushima, page 113.)

On the same page Willacy points out that the Japanese Diet (Parliament) had considered the question of earthquake damage. Willacy reports Takamatsu considers the piping to be the most vulnerable structures to quake damage in the reactors. “When an earthquake damages the piping, the system collapses. Then radioactive water flows out. So piping damage is a possibility, yes”. (Willacy, Fukushima, page 113, quoting Takamatsu.)

Water continues to be pumped into the Rukushima Daiichi reactors for cooling purposes. It continues to leak out as contaminated water. Only about a million tons of this radioactive water has been stored in the water containers at the TEPCO site at Fukushima. See photo above. The rest has flowed into the Pacific Ocean. Which is perfectly safe according to nuclear authorities. Such people appear to be the only ones happy about this. Then again, such people promised such an event would never happen. (See the NRC short history, the chapter entitled “The ECCS controversy”. Download form here: https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/brochures/br0175/ Search for “ECCS” in Chapter 2. Read from : “The report offered assurances about the improbability of a core meltdown and the reliability of ECCS
designs, but it also acknowledged that a loss-of-coolant
accident could cause a breach of containment if the ECCS
failed to perform. Therefore, containment could no longer
be regarded as an inviolable barrier to the escape of radioactivity.
This finding represented a milestone in the evolution
of reactor regulation. In effect, it imposed a modified
approach to reactor safety.” (Source: US NRC, “A short history of Nuclear Regulation 1946 -2009”, USA.)

If a pipe breaks, reactor containment could be breached. No wonder TEPCO and the rest of the industry is bothering very much to study the matters of critical interest. Is that why some of those water tanks had to be hurriedly erected at the Fukushima site? Why is the water leaking out???? Sill no worries, Barry reckons there is no quake damage at Fukushima Diiachi. There is no account of the tsunami damaging any aspect of the reactor pressure vessels or the attached fitments, including ECCS pipes.

It will take more than 3 decades from now before humans can tolerate the radiation exposure involved in entering the reactors. By 2050 the world may know what quake damage actually did occur on 11 March 2011 at Fukushima Diachi. The expert Mr. Takamatsu is one who is worried that the quake caused critical damage which made emergency core cooling systems inevitable. He cannot prove such damage occurred. He cannot prove it did not occur. He doesn’t know. He states TEPCO has not put the study in required to discern what damage was likely. Mr. Takamatsu states with expert authority that the pipes of cooling system was not designed for the 50 second vibration of the magnitude quake. Barry Brook, kangaroo expert, disagrees and tells the world the quake caused no damage at Fukushima. Yet Mr. Brook must surely know the earthquake caused grid blackout. For reactors are all shut down by earthquakes. A solar plant would have kept generating until the last panel shattered. No one would have been evacuated from such a solar plant.

Turning again to Willacy: “The (Japanese) Parliamentary report into the nuclear disaster found that one very violent tremor had shaken the plant violently for more than 50 seconds – far longer than than its design standard.” (Willacy, Fukushima, page 114.)

The parliamentary report states that the safety agency NISA was “careless” and illogical in its conclusion that the quake had no negative effects on the reactor cooling systems. (bidi).

The parliamentary investigators needed to get inside the reactor building for reactor 1 to visually inspect the emergency core cooling system isolation condensers for quake damage. For “It was known that they (the isolation condensers) had stopped working soon after the quake hit, and that it was believed to have led to the early meltdown of Reactor 1. But TEPCO would have none of it. It would do everything in its power to thwart their inspection.” (Willacy, Fukushima, page 114).

When parliamentary investigator Mr Tanaka questioned Mr. Toshimitsu Tamai about conditions inside the reactor building for reactor 1, Tamai stated that the building was in complete darkness. The was a risk of injury. They might stumble into a high radiation area, etc. TEPCO refused to guide the investigators in their inspection tour. Due to the evidence given to investigator Tanaka by TEPCO’s Tamai, the tour of reactor 1’s building and isolation condensers (part of the ECCS) was called off.

Willacy obtained a copy of the discussion between Tanaka and Tamai. Willacy’s observations of the exchange are compelling. Anyone who had to accept the statements of Tamai as truth could not allow anyone to enter the building.

HOWEVER:

“But, much later, Mitsuhiko Tanaka learned the truth. The building was not in darkness. The cover was not blocking the sunlight. Not only that, but a series of powerful mercury lamps had been installed and could throw as much light as the headlights of 40 cars. The investigators could have easily accessed the Reactor 1 building. TEPCO had misled the official panel appointed by the nation’s parliament.” (Willacy, Fukushima, page 114).

Willacy goes on to describe Tanaka’s rage at being lied to by TEPCO. There are many people around the world and in Japan who share the rage, for repeatedly TEPCO and the world nuclear industry lied and gave false and inadequate narrative of the events. By now, most people will have forgotten about the mass production of a rank of reactors which all demonstrated ECCS failure and meltdown. Events predicted as far back as 1969 by non-industry experts and denied by industry experts, including government lackeys of the nuclear industry. I recall that when reactor 1 exploded, the Australian SBS tv news report of the event included the voice over of an “expert” from the Australian National University which stated “This is normal.” It doesn’t get much blacker than that. As for the danger of nuclear plumbing and loss of containment, Ralph Lapp explained that in the early 1970s in his essay in the New York Times.

Nuclear authorities must think the people of the world have the memory of goldfish. They are confident in their lies but there is very little variety in the way they go about things. They would have it that:

“in any sort of major accident in any industry there’s a period of introspection afterwards. Looking at what went wrong. Just like in anything in our lives. And trying to take the salient lessons and use that in future is a …I see the announcements of governments around the world to re-look at the safety of their current nuclear power plants. That’s an eminently sensible thing to do because you can look at all of the contingencies that they have allowed for and say well, what if the situation in Japan had happened to us, are we prepared? That’s learning from the lessons of history.” Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFs_-8DtZvo ABC TV One Plus One: Barry Brook on nuclear power’s future after Fukushima, posted Published on 18 Mar 2011.

TEPCO is caught lying to the lead investigator of the Japanese committee charged with investigating the Fukushima nuclear disaster. How is this enabling ANYONE to “learn lessons of history” Prof Brooks? What is your bias and preference doing in this “learning” process? Are you simply so inculcated yourself that you can’t think independently? What are you trying to teach us? Is a nuclear compliant population so important to you that you feel contrary evidence can just be ignored by you as you “teach” the Australian population? You are not my lecturer sir. I am not subject to your assessment. As an Australian sir, you are subject to mine, to the extent that I can communicate with government and government bodies.

“TEPCO denied that it had intentionally lied but admitted ‘a mistake had made..’ But, by this time, the investigation commission had released its final report, without confirming whether the emergency isolation condensers had been damage or not. The report did rule that there was a possibility that pipes had burst during the quake, causing what is called a ‘small break loss of coolant accident’…” (Willacy, Fukushima, page 116.)

In the book Fukushima Willacy records TEPCO’s point of view. Based on its inspection of reactor (un fuelled) at the time of the disaster, TEPCO concluded that none of the reactors suffered earthquake damage. “The Parliamentary Committee dismissed ‘such results and conclusions [as] very uneliable’. (Willacy, Fukushima, page 117, reference 44. Which is: The National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, page 26.

The Executive Summary of the report is here: https://www.nirs.org/wp-content/uploads/fukushima/naiic_report.pdf On page 31 of the Executive summary the following is stated: “However, according to several
workers involved in the manual suspension of IC who responded to our investigation, they stopped IC (isolation condensor) to check whether coolant was leaking from IC and other pipes because the reactor pressure was falling rapidly. While the operator’s explanations are reasonable and appropriate, TEPCO’s explanation is irrational.
6. There is no evidence that the safety relief (SR) valve was opened at Unit 1, though this should have taken place in the case of an accident. (Such records are available for Units 2 and 3.) We found that the sound of the SR valve opening for Unit 2 was heard at the Central Control Room and at Unit 2, but no one working at Unit 1 heard the sound of the Unit 1 SR valve opening. It is therefore a possibility that the SR valve might not have worked in Unit 1. In this case, a minor LOCA caused by the seismic
motion could have taken place in Unit 1.” end quote.

I submit that Prof. Barry Brook’s description of the effects of earthquake upon the Fukushima Diiachi on 11 March 2011 is totally ignorant of the facts as presented by many qualified experts and fly in the face of the independent commission set up by the Japanese Parliament (Diet). It is confirmed that expert investigators concern aspects of TEPCO’s explanations regarding the quake are “irrational”.

Thus any narrative based upon the nuclear industry view, in line with TEPCO’s may fairly be said to be “irrational”. For the industry view is that there is no possibility of quake damage to any structure or sub structure, such as coolant pipes and valves. This is based upon TEPCO’s inspection of reactor 5, which was neither fuelled or hot at the time of the quake. TEPCO could have and still lcan examine the Isolation Condensers of reactor 1. As far as I know, it still has not done so. It has lied to the independent investigators in order to keep the investigators away from those condensers. At least that is my opinion of TEPCO’s motive for its claimed “mistake”.

Yet Prof Brook still considers the industry provided narrative the best one available for his purposes.

Interesting that. I would have thought the actual evidence would have been more important than the mere opinions TEPCO which him and everyone else wants and needs us to have. After all, it takes a lot of effort to suck local populations into the position where they trust nuclear industry. There is now a real problem in that regard in Japan.

And Port Willunga.

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