In prograss. Primary sources: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/07/meltdown-what-really-happened-fukushima/352434/
Various Authorities over a number of decades have published reports relating to the vulnerability of coolant pipes which are critical to the maintenance of fuel core temperatures in nuclear reactors. Some of these documents are listed at the end of this blog and are referred to in the following text.
Various authors have reported that after the earthquake of 3/11 at Fukushima Diiachi, and prior to the arrival of the tsunamis, 1. white smoke was reported to be seen issuing from F.D. reactor 1 2.Workers reported seeing cracked and broken pipes leaking cold water inside the Reactor 1 building. 3. That TEPCO used false pretences or lied so that the Japanese Diet investigation team was unable to inspect an important component of the Emergency Core Cooling system. TEPCO refused to allow the Diet investigating team to enter the building of Reactor 1 in order to inspect the ECCS condenser unit. The Diet investigating team had strong reasons to suspect that the ECCS condenser reactor 1 had been severely damaged by the earthquake 40 minutes or less prior the arrival of the first Tsunami wave. Lastly the importance of grid power supply to the safe operation has been minimised by the nuclear industry since 3/11. This failure to properly explain the nuclear power’s reliance upon a powered grid flies in the face of regulatory regimes which demand highly resilient grid power connection for safe operation of nuclear power plants. Authorities such as the IAEA and US NRC will be quoted in the text to follow.
The industry assures the world that earthquake damage did not contribute to the events at Fukushima Daiiachi in any way.
The following text attempts to question this industry reassurance to the world.
According TEPCO, it may be more than 3 decades before independent experts are able to venture into the reactors themselves and indeed to enter areas inside the reactor buildings where critical piping and emergency core cooling equipment is located. If the earthquake did cause damage to coolant piping and equipment at Fukushima Daiichi in one or more reactors such a finding would be of profound importance to nations which suffer earthquakes. It must be noted that the earthquake of 3/11 was the fourth most powerful ever recorded. Further, both the quake and tsunami threat to Fukushima Daiichi plant were the subjects of repeated communications of warning by qualified experts in the fields from 2007 onward. TEPCO, the rest of the world nuclear industry and the national governments of Japan and those governments collectively subject to the IAEA guidelines and the IAEA itself failed to act on warnings issued up to 4 years prior to the disasters of 3/11. To what degree should the people of the world “believe” statements of the relevant industry and governments? Should we ask for evidence prior to extending faith rather than independent thought to those authorities? The nuclear industry, upon confirming by its own research, that 15 metre tsunami was a threat to the Fukushima Daiichi. This research was suppressed from government and the rest of the industry from the time the findings were made in 2009 until just a few weeks prior to the 3/11 disasters.
The sources for the statements above will be given in the text which is to follow.
The Events of the First Forty Minutes Post Quake at Fukushima Daiichi Reactor Number 1 – Which version is true?
Version 1: There was no quake damage at all At Fukshima Diiachi – Sources:
“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.” Prof Barry Brook, ABC TV Australia, television interview at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-12-16/brook—fukushima2c-nuclear-power-and-the-rational-approach-to/3733762, which is available to view at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFs_-8DtZvo
“The Great East Japan Earthquake of magnitude 9.0 at 2.46 pm on Friday 11 March 2011 did considerable damage in the region, and the large tsunami it created caused very much more…..Eleven reactors at four nuclear power plants in the region were operating at the time and all shut down automatically when the quake hit. Subsequent inspection showed no significant damage to any from the earthquake. The operating units which shut down were Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (Tepco) Fukushima Daiichi 1, 2, 3, and Fukushima Daini 1, 2, 3, 4, Tohoku’s Onagawa 1, 2, 3, and Japco’s Tokai, total 9377 MWe net. Fukushima Daiichi units 4, 5&6 were not operating at the time, but were affected. The main problem initially centred on Fukushima Daiichi units 1-3. Unit 4 became a problem on day five.The reactors proved robust seismically, but vulnerable to the tsunami. Power, from grid or backup generators, was available to run the residual heat removal (RHR) system cooling pumps at eight of the eleven units, and despite some problems they achieved ‘cold shutdown’ within about four days. The other three, at Fukushima Daiichi, lost power at 3.42 pm, almost an hour after the quake, when the entire site was flooded by the 15-metre tsunami. This disabled 12 of 13 back-up generators on site and also the heat exchangers for dumping reactor waste heat and decay heat to the sea. The three units lost the ability to maintain proper reactor cooling and water circulation functions. Electrical switchgear was also disabled….” Fukushima Daiichi Accident(Updated June 2018) Wold Nuclear Association at http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/fukushima-accident.aspx
“On March 11, 2011, turbines and reactors of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear
Power Station Unit 1(Boiling Water Reactor, Rated Output 460 MW) and
Unit 2 and 3 (Boiling Water Reactor, Rated Output 784 MW) that had been
operating at rated power automatically shutdown due to the
Tohoku-Chihou-Taiheiyou-Oki Earthquake.(already announced)
“Today at approximately 3:36PM, a big quake occurred and there was a big
sound around the Unit 1 and white smoke.
Our two employees and two subcontract workers working for the safety of
the plant were injured and transported to the hospital.
We are presently checking on the site situation of each plant and effect
of discharged radioactive materials.”
We will endeavor to restore the units and continue monitoring the
environment of the site periphery. ” end quote. Source: Press Release (Mar 12,2011)White smoke around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit 1, TEPCO at http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/11031225-e.html
There are many accounts presently published on the internet in which various authorities state that the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plants reactors suffered no earthquake damage, that the earthquake played no role in the events at that NPP apart from creating the tsunami which did cause the events to unfold and which did cause the damage to the Nuclear power plant. Thus the consequences of this accident was from the forces unleashed by the forces of the ocean against the plant and not by the forces the earthquake upon the plant.
This is the conventional industry narrative. However there is a troubling aspect to the accounts above when one compares the statements, observations and views of Prof Brook and the World Nuclear Association with the TEPCO press release dated 12 March 2011 and entitled “White smoke around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit 1”. The press report, which is partially quoted above, mentions the earthquake and notes the time that it struck the Fukushima Daiichi NPP: “Today at approximately 3:36PM, a big quake occurred and there was a big sound around the Unit 1 and white smoke. (Source: TEPCO as cited above.) There is no mention of the tsunami damage in this press release and no mention of the tsunami at all in this press release at all, in fact.
The World Nuclear Association description quoted from and cited above gives the timing of events as follows: “The Great East Japan Earthquake of magnitude 9.0 at 2.46 pm on Friday 11 March 2011.” (World Nuclear Association as referenced above. In the body of the text of the World Nuclear Association report the timing of the arrival of the tsunami at Fukushima Diiachi is given in the following quotation from that text: “The other three, at Fukushima Daiichi, lost power at 3.42 pm, almost an hour after the quake, when the entire site was flooded by the 15-metre tsunami.
This is perplexing for TEPCO gives the time of the earthquake striking Fukuhima Diiachi NPP as being “approximately 3:36PM..” (Source, TEPCO press release as cited above).
Therefore it can be seen that:
1. Tepco says the earthquake struck at about 3.36pm, causing a loud noise and the appearance of white smoke at or around reactor 1. Two workers were injured and taken to hospital.
2. World nuclear association states that the arrival time of the tsunami was at 3.42pm, about an hour after the earthquake.
3. TEPCO reports injuries and white smoke at the time of the earthquake
4. World Nuclear Associations no damage from the quake at the plant, but severe consequences to the plant from the tsunami alone.
5. Prof Brook provides a clearly defined description within the time limits of a TV interview in which he conveys the simple facts which conform to the World Nuclear Association narrative referenced above.
The problem for the reader of multiple sources is the time inconsistency between the two primary sources. These being World Nuclear Association and TEPCO. TEPCO and its staff were present at the NPP at the time of the events. Neither World Nuclear Association nor Prof Brooks were present at the NPP at the time of the events. Neither therefore can be considered to be primary sources. They cannot be considered to be witnesses to the actual events.
What is going on here? Could it possibly be that of the expert organisations and personnel listed above, one or two of them are wrong in their accounts of events?
When did the earthquake in question accurately hit the F.D. NPP ?
“The epicenter of the Mw9.0 earthquake hitting Japan’s northeastern Tohoku region on Japan’s Pacific coast at 14:46 Japan standard time on March 11, 2011, was lo- cated at 38.30◦N, 142.37◦E, 60 km off of the coast. Tsunamis up to 40.5 m in runup height observed at Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, caused huge human loss and destroyed the regional infrastructure.
Tsunamis 13 to 15 m in maximum height struck the Fukushima Daiichi No.1 Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) 50 minutes after the main shock.” End quote. Source: Monitoring of the Recovery Process of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant from VHR SAR Images,Wen Liu∗, Fumio Yamazaki∗, and Tadashi Sasagawa∗∗ ∗Graduate School of Engineering, Chiba University 1-33 Yayoi-cho, Inageku, Chiba 263-8522, Japan E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
∗∗PASCO Corporation 4-10-1 Nakano, Nakano-Ku, Tokyo 164-0001, Japan [Received October 10, 2015; accepted December 10, 2015]
TEPCO gives the time of the earthquake hitting Fukushima Diiachi NPP as “approximately 3:36PM” (as above)
World Nuclear Association gives the time of the tsunami ” hitting Fukushima Diiachi NPP as being “3.42 pm, almost an hour after the quake, when the entire site was flooded by the 15-metre tsunami.” (as above)
Fumio Yamazaki et. al, above state that the earthquake occurred at 14.46 Japan Standard Time.
14:46 converted to 12 hour time is 2.46 pm Japan Standard Time. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24-hour_clock)
Japan has one national time zone. There is no daylight saving time in Japan.
The TEPCO press release (above) account of the timing of the earthquake is at variance with both Yamazaki et.al. and World Nuclear Association.
The question remains: Why did Tepco give the time of the earthquake as 3.36pm? The press release does not mention the tsunami at all. It mentions that white smoke and a loud bang occurred in the environs of Reactor at the same time as the quake hit. It states that personnel were taken to hospital as a result of the quake.
Other sources which attest to earthquake caused events at Fukushima Diiachi Reactor Number 1.
“Water Leak on the 4th Floor of the Reactor Building of Unit 1
Regarding the water leak on the 4th floor of Unit 1 immediately after the earthquake, the National Diet Investigation Commission Report states: “NAIIC believes that this leak was not due to water sloshing out of the spent fuel pool on the fifth floor. However, since we (NAIIC) cannot go inside the facility and perform an on-site inspection, the source of the water leakage remains
unconfirmed.” Based on the results of site investigation and analysis, the NRA estimated that the water leak on the 4th floor of Unit 1 occurred by water that jetted out through gaps in the panel joints of the overflow chamber caused by the pressure of water overflowing into the overflow chamber due to sloshing in the SFP.” Source: Analysis of the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi NPS Accident
Interim Report (Provisional Translation), October 2014
Nuclear Regulation Authority, Japan
It is note worthy to recall that TEPCO prevented the National Diet Investigation Commission from inspecting critical parts of the Unit 1 reactor building. TEPCO has confirmed that this was a “mistake” made in “error”. Committee members consider that TEPCO lied. (Willacy,”Fukushima”)
The interim report does show that water was leaked in the Unit 1 building purely as a result of the earthquake. Given the continuing lack of actual human inspection, only preserved performance data and human eye witness accounts can generate the necessary content from which one might hope to reconstruct what the loud noise and white smoke resultant from the occurrence of the earthquake might have been. There is no doubt the TEPCO press statement quoted and referenced above does exist. It is easy to access at the referenced link. It is a matter of regret that the time given for the earthquake by TEPCO does not match the time given by qualified sources.
Press reports of earthquake effects experienced in and around Reactor 1 prior to the arrival of the tsunami which tend to validate the TEPCO press release information.
JAKE ADELSTEIN and DAVID MCNEILL, writing in “The Atlantic” of JUL 2, 2011, state the following:
“Throughout the months of lies and misinformation, one story has stuck: “The earthquake knocked out the plant’s electric power, halting cooling to its reactors,” as the government spokesman Yukio Edano said at a March 15 press conference in Tokyo. The story, which has been repeated again and again, boils down to this: “after the earthquake, the tsunami – a unique, unforeseeable [the Japanese word is soteigai] event – then washed out the plant’s back-up generators, shutting down all cooling and starting the chain of events that would cause the world’s first triple meltdown to occur….
“But what if recirculation pipes and cooling pipes, burst, snapped, leaked, and broke completely after the earthquake — long before the tidal wave reached the facilities, long before the electricity went out? This would surprise few people familiar with the 40-year-old Unit 1, the grandfather of the nuclear reactors still operating in Japan…
“The authors have spoken to several workers at the plant who recite the same story: Serious damage to piping and at least one of the reactors before the tsunami hit. All have requested anonymity because they are still working at the plant or are connected with TEPCO. One worker, a maintenance engineer in his late twenties who was at the Fukushima complex on March 11, recalls hissing and leaking pipes. “I personally saw pipes that came apart and I assume that there were many more that had been broken throughout the plant. There’s no doubt that the earthquake did a lot of damage inside the plant,” he said. “There were definitely leaking pipes, but we don’t know which pipes – that has to be investigated. I also saw that part of the wall of the turbine building for Unit 1 had come away. That crack might have affected the reactor….
“A second worker, a technician in his late 30s, who was also on site at the time of the earthquake, narrated what happened. “It felt like the earthquake hit in two waves, the first impact was so intense you could see the building shaking, the pipes buckling, and within minutes, I saw pipes bursting. Some fell off the wall. Others snapped. I was pretty sure that some of the oxygen tanks stored on site had exploded but I didn’t see for myself. Someone yelled that we all needed to evacuate and I was good with that. But I was severely alarmed because as I was leaving I was told and I could see that several pipes had cracked open, including what I believe were cold water supply pipes. That would mean that coolant couldn’t get to the reactor core. If you can’t sufficiently get the coolant to the core, it melts down. You don’t have to have to be a nuclear scientist to figure that out….
“A third worker was coming into work late when the earthquake hit. “I was in a building nearby when the earthquake shook. After the second shockwave hit, I heard a loud explosion that was almost deafening. I looked out the window and I could see white smoke coming from reactor one. I thought to myself, ‘this is the end.’”
When the worker got to the office five to 15 minutes later the supervisor ordered them all to evacuate, explaining, “there’s been an explosion of some gas tanks in reactor one, probably the oxygen tanks. In addition to this there has been some structural damage, pipes have burst, meltdown is possible. Please take shelter immediately…..
“However, while the employees prepared to leave, the tsunami warning came. Many of them fled to the top floor of a building near the site and waited to be rescued.”
Masao Yoshida was the site supervisor of the Fukushima Daiichi Nulcear Power Plant at the time of the disaster. His death in 2013 from smoking related cancer made world headlines. See “Fukushima boss hailed as hero dies”, Justin McCurry in Tokyo Wed 10 Jul 2013 14.47 AEST, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/10/fukushima-plant-boss-hero-dies
Prior to his death, Masao Yoshida testified before an investigation panel about the sequence of events which occurred at the F.D. NPP from the time of the earthquake onward. Throughout the event he is reported by multiple sources as being courageous, expert, and not afraid to stand up to company bosses, government authorities and the then Prime Minister of Japan. Did Yoshida say anything about damage caused to the NPP prior to the arrival of the tsunami? In particular did he testify that earthquake damage occurred at Unit 1 at the moment the quake hit and for the 40-50 minutes prior to the arrival of the tsunami?
I refer to “The Yoshida Testimony – the Fukushima nuclear accident as told by plant manager Masao Yoshida“, The Asahi Shimbun Digital, Japan. http://www.asahi.com/special/yoshida_report/en/ selected quotes from this record follow:
“In our coverage titled “The Yoshida Testimony,” reporting to the effect that workers withdrew from the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant against the general manager’s order was erroneous. We deeply apologize to our readers and those at Tokyo Electric Power Co.
Based on the views presented by the Press and Human Rights Committee, we have made revisions to the relevant parts in Chapter 1’s first section, titled “Reality of the ‘Fukushima 50.’” (Dec. 3, 2014)
(Full texts are available.)…
The Asahi Shimbun has recently obtained a copy of the transcripts of testimony given before a government investigation panel by Masao Yoshida, who served as general manager of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant when it succumbed to a Level 7 disaster, the highest on the International Nuclear Events Scale, following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011.
“The document remains the only available official transcript of the testimony by Yoshida, the on-site commander of efforts to bring the situation under control, who died in July 2013 without having disclosed much to media organizations about the accident at the plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.
“The transcript, not to be released publicly at Yoshida’s request, was gathering dust in government offices.
“28 hours, 400 pages
The Yoshida testimony report comprises seven parts and contains about 500,000 characters in total. It is printed on more than 400 pages of A4-size paper.
“Eleven of the 13 interview sessions with Yoshida were conducted at a Japan Football Association Academy meeting room at the J-Village soccer training facility, 20 kilometers south of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. The remaining two sessions took place in a quake-proof control center building, Yoshida’s workplace, at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
“The government’s Investigation Committee on the Accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations of Tokyo Electric Power Co. interviewed 772 individuals over a total of 1,479 hours. The Yoshida testimony was compiled during that process.
“While an interviewee was only questioned for slightly less than two hours on average, Yoshida was interviewed for more than 28 hours, and was asked to respond on how he acted and what he thought at decisive moments. Yotaro Hatamura, chairman of the investigation panel, called the Yoshida testimony “invaluable historic material” because it is Yoshida’s only available official transcript.” source: as above.
Even if we do not yet know the names of the people who gave their testimony to “The Atlantic” online journal as quoted above, and one day they will come forward, we do have the testimony of the leader of those people who, in a very real sense, saved Japan from the full consequences of a multiple unit mass reactor failure and meltdowns. The fact is, without such people at the plant, nuclear advocates would be bemoaning the existence of Exclusion Zones in Japan much larger than the ones in existence actually are. It’s up to the reader to discern their own meaning this. For many nuclear advocates claim no evacuations at all were needed. And that, even under the rules and considerations of the IAEA and ICRP is totally technically incorrect. (see recent previous posts).
“…passages show him furious, as he referred to Masataka Shimizu, president of TEPCO at the time of the disaster, as “that gentleman” and also referred to Naoto Kan, prime minister at the time, or Haruki Madarame, chairman of the now-defunct Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan, (NSC) as “that guy.”
“The emotionally open nature of his responses throughout the report indicates that, as a whole, Yoshida was recounting how he really thought and felt.
“Yoshida tried to make sure he was distinguishing facts from his feelings and thoughts. He also apparently tried to distinguish what he believed when the disaster began from what he later came to believe as more information became available.
“Voices of those who fought the unprecedented nuclear disaster should be engraved in history. History is humankind’s common property.
“I would like you to attend our hearing in the understanding that what you are going to tell us could be published almost in their original form,” a member of the government investigation panel told Yoshida during the first interview session. The Asahi Shimbun notes that Yoshida replied promptly, “That is OK.”
“The government later released a written request by Yoshida that his interviews not be publicly disclosed.” Yoshida Testimony as cited above.
“White mists, steam and white smoke had also been spotted some time before the No. 1 and No. 3 reactor buildings exploded. TEPCO was, therefore, on the highest alert for those events, which it took for signs of gas leakage from a nuclear reactor containment vessel.” Yoshida Testimony as cited above – but this is NOT the event of the white smoke reported by TEPCO at the time of the quake in their press release quoted above. It is NOT the white smoke (and loud bang) workers testified to seeing and hearing come from Reactor 1’s building at the time of the quake. However, the commentary confirms the reactor workers would perceive these things – the white smoke especially – as signs of significant events, events which might signify grave danger.
On the other hand the quake may have damaged an oxygen tank. Such an event could produce a bang and a cloud of white condensate. We do not KNOW. So far, what the events were that led to the hospitalisation of 2 workers from the reactor 1 building and to the evacuation of the rest of the reactor 1 building workers away from that place. But certainly, prior to the tsunami, as we have seen, workers evacuated reactor 1’s building. Even though their names at the moment, including the ones sent to hospital, are unknown. One day we will know some of these witnesses names.
Part of a chronological table of events from “The Yishoda Testimony” as cited above. Time of the quake striking is confirmed again as being 2.46 pm. No excess radiation is noted. Reactor 1 is the first to explode, the day after the quake.
“Yoshida: Yes, there was. Well, that would have turned into a really big matter, and it was not our head office that brought up the subject. If I had brought up the subject at the round table … well, there was the round table, and out in the hallway, too, were people from our partner companies. We had come to a situation where (nuclear) fuel was really exposed but we could not lower pressure or pump in water, so really, this is the hardest part for me to remember. I thought then, though not for the first time, that we were going to die. I thought we were really going to die. With no water coming in, the No. 2 reactor was going to melt. All fuel was going to really override pressure in the containment vessel and escape outside. That would have been a worst-case accident, with corresponding amounts of radioactive substances all spewed outside. That would no longer be on a Chernobyl class–maybe not a “China Syndrome,” but something like that. If that were to happen, we would have had to stop pumping water into the No. 1 and No. 3 reactors, and they would have fallen into similar states sooner or later.” Yoshida Testimony, as cited above.
“Japan has no nuclear disaster suppression unit whose mission is to face a crisis and bring a nuclear disaster under control.
The Self-Defense Forces say they are maintaining and improving their preparedness so they can respond promptly and appropriately to situations that seriously affect Japan’s peace and security and in the face of large-scale disasters. But their plans presuppose cooperation with relevant organizations, and SDF members have no technological expertise for controlling nuclear reactors.
Only power utility workers can control nuclear reactors and end crises there. But there has never been a provision, now or before the Fukushima nuclear disaster, to constrain their actions. Nor has there been vocal debate over whether binding their actions would be the right thing to do.” Yoshida Testimony, as cited above.
“The total loss of alternating-current power supply at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant had rendered inoperable all pumps for emergency cooling of nuclear reactors. As an alternative, Yoshida and colleagues proposed using fire engines to pump water from the outside into nuclear reactors.
“It was going to be the world’s first attempt at practicing the method, which was not mentioned in the “accident management guide.” The guide defines what response measures should be taken during a catastrophic incident.
“Only one of the three fire engines at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, however, was available at the time. Another had been swept away by the tsunami, whereas the remaining one not access the No. 1 through No. 4 reactors because of damaged roads on the plant premises.
“Only a handful of individuals, anyway, could have operated fire engines. In fact, no TEPCO employee had ever operated a fire engine. No one had even helped operate a fire engine in terms of connecting a hose to a hydrant or connecting two hoses.
“The Nanmei unit was given various tasks as soon as it arrived.” Yoshida Testimony, as cited above.
“During the most difficult phase of the crisis, the power utility, the only entity that could operate the nuclear plant, was significantly reducing its organization whose task is to bring the situation under control. Individuals under no obligation to work were engaged in key tasks on a voluntary basis. And government officials, whose duty was to be on the front lines, did not arrive.
“This is the truth about the efforts made to contain the Fukushima nuclear crisis, which indirectly claimed many lives and has left more than 130,000 people living in temporary accommodation.” Yoshida Testimony as cited above.
“Question: As a way of confirmation, the situation at the No. 3 reactor was so dangerous that an evacuation order had to be issued to workers there. Those circumstances were naturally transmitted through both phone calls and the online system from the TEPCO head office that were reaching NISA and the prime minister’s office. What you are about to see is related to a press release that was being discussed by NISA and the prime minister’s office. This is a point when it is unclear if press releases have been stopped or have not yet been stopped.
“Yoshida: Press release?
“Q: In other words, we want you to recall the situation that unfolds in the document you are about to see. They are saying that they have stopped press releases for information related to the situation at the No. 3 reactor.
“Yoshida: This is the first time I have heard of this. Does it involve part 33?
“Q: Yes. Page 9. The exchange from there is somewhat summarized, so please view it, and if you can recall what that was all about, we want to ask you about it.
“What NISA officials began saying was the need to stop providing information to the media. In other words, they wanted a media blackout.
“The drying up of the water source led to a lack of cooling at the No. 3 reactor, creating an unusual increase in pressure within the containment vessel and forcing the temporary evacuation of workers at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. The media blackout was intended to keep such information about the crisis at the No. 3 reactor from reaching TV stations and newspaper companies.
“Although somewhat hesitant, TEPCO officials agreed to the instruction for information control issued by the agency that was supervising the company on nuclear energy. At 7:49 a.m., the leader of the group serving as a liaison to government agencies at the TEPCO head office passed on that decision to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and the offsite center in Fukushima Prefecture.
“But there was no detailed explanation of the background to the decision. The only thing the individual said was: “NISA officials told those at the prime minister’s office that they were working in conjunction with TEPCO, but press releases have apparently been stopped. That is why no information is being released to the press.”
“Although Yoshida said he understood, he had not actually listened to the contents of what was said to him.
“Meanwhile, Fukushima prefectural government officials were preparing to rise against NISA’s outrageous decision. They began saying that the meeting of department heads scheduled for 9 a.m. would be open to the media so that they could publicize the emergency at the No. 3 reactor in place of central government officials.
“But NISA officials strongly insisted that no announcement should be made to the media and managed to stop the prefectural government from releasing the information. About 30 percent of the nuclear fuel at the No. 3 reactor had already been damaged, so it was estimated that gases within the containment vessel likely contained large amounts of radioactive materials.
“If nothing was done, there was the danger that the dry venting would deliberately release radioactive materials while residents remained in the dark about what they faced.” Yoahida Testimony, as cited above.
“Yoshida: For one thing, in the sense of simultaneously malfunctioning, there was a simultaneous breakdown at the Kashiwazaki (-Kariwa nuclear power plant) when the (Niigata) Chuetsu-oki Earthquake struck (in 2007). While there was a simultaneous breakdown, for us, the plant stopped operations and there was serious damage, but in a word, all the reactors stopped operating in a safe manner. Those in charge of safety would say that regardless of what the next step is, if the operations stopped safely that is all that matters. From that standpoint, one can say that all the reactors stopped properly despite the huge earthquake that hit. Moreover, inspections after the fact found that the safety equipment was largely undamaged even though the quake greatly exceeded the one estimated in designing the plant. In other words, even though the quake struck at once and was powerful enough to stop all the plants, it only went so far as stopping operations. It did not go beyond that since the earthquake did not cause, such as in the latest accident, the loss of all cooling sources. The earthquake that was several times larger than the seismic motion used in the design process in a sense demonstrated that Japanese design was, after all, correct. So, conversely, that line of thinking emerged as a result.” Yoshida Testimony as cited above.
Members of the Diet Investigating Committee were blocked by TEPCO from visiting the Reactor 1 building to specifically check on an Emergency Core Cooling System condenser. The conventional information regarding Reactor 1 is that operator error caused that part of the ECCS systems to be turned off and left off in error.
However, since the time of the events there are those who believe the earthquake damaged that part of the ECCS, rendering it inevitable that Reactor 1 would be the first to blow and the first to melt down. The inevitable conclusion is that the story of operator error was and is incorrect.
What the workers saw and heard in and around reactor 1 at the time of the quake and before the tsunami – and the conclusions they draw from it in the press reports of their testimony – differs from the account given by Mr. Yoshida.
It is impossible for me to know whether the workers were correct in their diagnosis of the state of Reactor as a result of the quake or whether Mr. Yoshida was.
In any event, one thing is clear. When a reactor overheats and a pressure vessel the fuel is encased within is taken beyond the proper pressure, it becomes extremely difficult supply emergency coolant to the fuel.
And that has been known since the late 1960s. The industry from that time until 2011 insisted there was no problem with the emergency core cooling systems each reactor has, and which should keep the core within proper temperatures for the length of time demanded by the decay heat produced by the long lived radionuclides in the core. That’s in the nuke regs.
Yet the ECCS systems each reactor has is designed to run for only 8 hours without ac power, without primary cooling loop. It was a human testament to the people at the plant that it took so long for the inevitable to happen.
It is also a myth that the reactors meltdown because the primary cooling loop was destroyed. For each reactor has 3 separate emergency cooling loops independent of the main primary one.
And this is the real scandal of the Fukushima Daiichi events. It is the reason why so many people expected a series of meltdowns to occur at Fukushima Daiichi after the natural disasters.
For from the late 60s through to the mid 1970s, at public hearings and in court, it was demonstrated that the Emergency Core Cooling Systems fitted to the plants would fail due to pressure vessel overpressure.
Such awareness in full was once a cultural norm in the USA particularly. As much as that awareness was frowned upon by the industry.
At Fukushima the situation was made worse by electrical switchgear and equipment being in the basement, near the flow of ground water and beneath sea level. This as an economy message made by the Japanese.
The whole concept of “beyond design basis event” is a militaristic nonsense. One has to build for reality and from 2007 the nuclear industry had been warned by experts that the Fukushima Daiichi sea walls were inadequate.
Smoke and noise from a reactor after a quake may or may not have a technical significance. The ECCS valves are meant to be opened by electricity, not by hand. And in the end the delay in opening valves and releasing pressure in order to allow fresh coolant to be pumped in resulted in the consequences people in Japan now have to live with.
It could have been worse. It should not have happened at all.
They built the plant by first bulldozing and blasting 20 feet from the Fukushima cliffs. And TEPCO spent the time from 2007 to 2011 complaining about the cost of adequate sea walls as advised to them by highly qualified experts. Who that company harassed, as did NISA.
When TEPCO’s own engineers’ modelling confirmed those experts, the TEPCO report was suppressed.
In order to save shillings, what actually has the industry caused itself? And why does it continue to blame the ordinary people of the world for actually understanding, to the degree possible, what went on to actually produce the mess?
Ordinary people learn lessons too.
If I want a cup of coffee in the morning, the provider of the power I need had better not remind me of the events sequentially engineered from 1969 to 2011 by the nuclear industry.
Listen: When GE said to TEPCO the emergency generators for the ECCS and the electrical switchboard go on the fourth floor, TEPCO replied nope, they go in the basements, by the ground water and below sea level. Its cheaper. And GE said ok, we will build it like that. No worries, we stand by our customers. They said that stand by thing to the people of the world a few years later when the place was a smoking ruin. Its still a ruin. We wont know the whole truth for another 30 odd years. Nobody will. I’ll be dead by then. There is something not right about the sequence of events at reactor 1. In my opinion.
One person, one vote.