Fukushima plant operator claims seismometers ‘out of order’ for a yr earlier than 15 Feb quake

Officers acknowledged that a number of seismometers had failed a number of months in the past, and hadn’t been repaired since.

Fukushima plant operator claims seismometers 'out of order' for a year before 15 Feb quake

The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear energy plant operated by Tokyo Electrical Energy Firm (TEPCO) in Okuma city, northeastern Japan, on 14 Feb 2021, a day after a robust earthquake hit. AP

The operator of the wrecked Fukushima nuclear energy plant mentioned Monday that two seismometers at considered one of its three melted reactors have been out of order since final yr and didn’t accumulate knowledge when a strong earthquake struck the world earlier this month. The acknowledgement raised new questions on whether or not the corporate’s danger administration has improved since an enormous earthquake and tsunami in 2011 destroyed a lot of the plant. The malfunctioning seismometers surfaced throughout a Nuclear Regulation Authority assembly on Monday to debate new harm on the plant ensuing from a magnitude 7.3 quake that struck the area on 13 February.

Cooling water and strain ranges fell within the Unit 1 and three reactors, indicating further harm to their main containment chambers. The operator, Tokyo Electrical Energy Co., has repeatedly been criticized for coverups and delayed disclosures of issues on the plant.

Regulatory officers requested TEPCO on the assembly why it didn’t have seismological knowledge from the Unit 3 reactor for Saturday’s quake, and utility officers acknowledged that each of its seismometers had failed — one in July and the opposite in October — and had by no means been repaired.

TEPCO additionally mentioned that seismometers in any respect however two of the reactor buildings that survived the 2011 catastrophe have been submerged by water from the tsunami and have by no means been changed.

Throughout Monday’s assembly, regulatory officers mentioned they have been involved in regards to the declining water ranges and strain within the Unit 1 and three main containment chambers due to the likelihood that the quake had expanded the prevailing harm or opened new leakage paths, and urged the utility to carefully verify for any elevated radiation ranges within the floor water surrounding the reactor buildings.

TEPCO mentioned no abnormality has been detected in water samples thus far.

New harm may additional complicate the plant’s already tough decommissioning course of and add to the big quantities of contaminated water being saved on the plant.

For the reason that 2011 catastrophe, cooling water has been escaping consistently from the broken main containment vessels into the basements of reactor and turbine buildings, the place the amount will increase as groundwater seeps in. The water is pumped up and handled, then a part of it’s reused as cooling water, whereas the remainder is saved in about 1,000 tanks.

TEPCO initially reported there was no abnormality on the plant from Saturday’s earthquake. However on Monday, it mentioned about 20 of the tanks had slid barely as a result of quake, a storage container carrying radioactive waste had tilted, and asphalt pavement on the plant was cracked.

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