PM’s office failed to use data predicting Fukushima power loss meltdowns
In the hours after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the Prime Minister’s Office failed to take advantage of up-to-date analysis of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant that projected both power failures and subsequent core meltdowns, according to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA).
NISA released the results of analysis on the Fukushima nuclear reactors using the Emergency Report Support System (ERSS) on Sept. 2 — about six months after the analysis was conducted right after the magnitude-9 earthquake struck. The analysis predicted the loss of power and subsequent nuclear meltdowns at the No. 1, 2 and 3 reactors at the plant before they occurred.
NISA sent the analysis on the No. 2 and 3 reactors to the Prime Minister’s Office, but the office did not use the information either to help plot containment measures or to initiate a swift evacuation of local communities. The agency did not send the results of the No. 1 reactor analysis.
According to NISA, the Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization (JNES), which developed the ERSS, activated the system just after the quake. Based on the assumption of a complete loss of power at the plant, JNES predicted how the water levels, pressure and temperatures would change at the No. 1, 2 and 3 reactors.
The JNES sent the data on the No. 2 reactor to NISA around 9:30 p.m. on March 11. Based on the data, NISA officials projected a chain of events remarkably true to those that were to unfold at the plant, such as, “At 22:50, reactor cores will be exposed; At 24:50, fuel meltdown.” NISA handed the predictions to the Prime Minister’s Office at around 10:45 p.m. on March 11 and again shortly after midnight. NISA sent the data on the No. 3 reactor to the Prime Minister’s Office about 20 minutes after receiving it from JNES around 6:30 a.m. on March 13.
However, the government did not use the data in its disaster response measures. Yoshinori Moriyama, NISA deputy director-general for nuclear accident measures, told a news conference on Sept. 2, “The data were not used because they were not based on facts.”
Based on assumed amounts of radioactive substances inferred from the predictions for the No. 1 reactor, NISA also projected the diffusion of nuclear substances using a system known as SPEEDI, or the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information. The agency did not, however, release the predictions immediately, and were in the end not used at all. NISA had previously said that SPEEDI was not functioning after the quake because of a complete loss of power.
Click here for the original Japanese story
(Mainichi Japan) September 3, 2011
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Another Japanese reactor stops for regular checks
One of the reactors at a nuclear power plant in western Japan has been shut down for regular inspections. About 80 percent of the country’s nuclear reactors are now out of operation.
Shikoku Electric Power Company halted the No. 1 reactor at the Ikata nuclear plant in Ehime Prefecture early on Sunday for inspections expected to last 3 months.
The operation of the No. 3 reactor of the plant is also down, although regular checks have been completed. The utility must conduct a stress test which the government requires for all suspended reactors before they can be restarted.
The Ehime prefectural government says it will decide whether to approve the resumption of operations after the results of the safety test come out.
The utility says that if the No. 3 reactor does not resume operations, power supplies will be very tight in winter when electricity demand is high.
It is considering restarting a thermal plant which has long been out of use.
43 of the country’s 54 reactors are now shut down. It is not known when any of them can resume operations.
Sunday, September 04, 2011 09:02 +0900 (JST)
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Not quake/nuclear-related. Newsworthy just the same
Tropical storm leaves 9 dead and 32 missing
Severe tropical storm Talas, which hit western Japan, has left 9 people dead and more than 30 others missing.
In Nara Prefecture in western Japan, an overflowing river washed away 2 houses on Saturday night. 4 of the 11 people who lived there were taken to a hospital. One was confirmed dead. 7 people are still missing.
In neighboring Wakayama Prefecture, one person was found dead in a house which was buried under a mudslide early on Sunday morning. 3 more houses were also destroyed by a landslide. 5 people are missing.
NHK has learned that 9 people are dead and 32 missing in western Japan. 94 people were injured in 18 prefectures in central and western Japan.
Torrential rain continues to pound the Kii Peninsula and neighboring areas with moist air still streaming into the tropical storm. Some areas had more than 50 millimeters of rain in one hour on Sunday morning.
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New movie… what Tokyo may be like in the (near?) future?