Home > News of the moment > The explosive truth behind Fukushima’s meltdown.

The explosive truth behind Fukushima’s meltdown.

Japan insists its nuclear crisis was caused by an unforeseeable combination of tsunami and earthquake. But new evidence suggests its reactors were doomed to fail.

By David McNeill in Tokyo and Jake Adelstein.   Wednesday, 17th August 2011.  Find Full Article Here:-

International Atomic Energy Agency fact-finding team leader Mike Weightman inspects the damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in May, 11 weeks into the disaster.

It is one of the mysteries of Japan’s ongoing nuclear crisis: How much damage did the 11 March earthquake inflict on the Fukushima Daiichi reactors before the tsunami hit?

The stakes are high: if the earthquake structurally compromised the plant and the safety of its nuclear fuel, then every similar reactor in Japan may have to be shut down. With almost all of Japan’s 54 reactors either offline (in the case of 35) or scheduled for shutdown by next April, the issue of structural safety looms over any discussion about restarting them.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) and Japan’s government are hardly reliable adjudicators in this controversy. “There has been no meltdown,” government spokesman Yukio Edano repeated in the days after 11 March. “It was an unforeseeable disaster,” Tepco’s then president Masataka Shimizu famously and improbably said later. Five months since the disaster, we now know that meltdown was already occurring as Mr Edano spoke. And far from being unforeseeable, the disaster had been repeatedly forewarned by industry critics.

Throughout the months of lies and misinformation, one story has stuck: it was the earthquake that knocked out the plant’s electric power, halting cooling to its six reactors. The tsunami then washed out the plant’s back-up generators 40 minutes later, shutting down all cooling and starting the chain of events that would cause the world’s first triple meltdown.

But what if recirculation pipes and cooling pipes burst after the earthquake – before the tidal wave reached the facilities; before the electricity went out? This would surprise few people familiar with the 40-year-old reactor one, the grandfather of the nuclear reactors still operating in Japan.

Problems with the fractured, deteriorating, poorly repaired pipes and the cooling system had been pointed out for years. In September 2002, Tepco admitted covering up data about cracks in critical circulation pipes. In their analysis of the cover-up, The Citizen’s Nuclear Information Centre writes: “The records that were covered up had to do with cracks in parts of the reactor known as recirculation pipes. These pipes are there to siphon off heat from the reactor. If these pipes were to fracture, it would result in a serious accident in which coolant leaks out.”

On 2 March, nine days before the meltdown, government watchdog the Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) warned Tepco on its failure to inspect critical pieces of equipment at the plant, including recirculation pumps. Tepco was ordered to make the inspections, perform repairs if needed and report to NISA on 2 June. It does not appear, as of now, that the report has been filed.

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Categories: News of the moment
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  1. August 21, 2011 at 8:46 pm
  2. October 15, 2011 at 1:58 am

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