Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tsuruga Plant Madness

Within Japan there is considerable pressure by the utilities and many industries to resume the operations of the nuclear power plants to reduce energy costs. The drive for profit may be prioritized over public safety. 

We see this in no other area so strikingly as in the push to re-start nuclear reactors that may reside on active faults.

NRA may assess Tsuruga plant fissures. NHK 12/5/2012
[excerpted] "An NRA official and 4 experts conducted the 2-day survey at the plant this month to determine whether a fissure directly under one of its reactors is an active fault or could move with an active fault in the plant's compound." [end excerpt]

Background Information on Tsuruga Plant Fault and Other Reactor Issues

Kan Admits Failure to Address Nuclear Problems as Another Plant Leaks May 2, 2011

[Excerpted] TOYKO, Japan, May 2, 2011 (ENS) - Radioactive substances may be leaking from fuel rods at a nuclear power plant in Tsuruga, the Fukui prefectural government said Monday, noting a rise in the level of radioactive substances in the reactor's coolant water.

Japan Atomic Power Co., the utility firm that operates the Tsuruga nuclear plant on the Sea of Japan coast, acknowledged "technical difficulties" at the Unit 2 reactor and confirmed a possible leak of radioactive iodine from the reactor's nuclear fuel rods into the coolant system.

The company said Monday that 4.2 becquerels of iodine-133 and 3,900 becquerels of xenon gas were detected per cubic centimeter of coolant water, up from 2.1 of iodine-133 and 5.2 becquerels of xenon gas measured during tests conducted April 26." [end excerpt]

NISA to order fault surveys at Mihama plant, Monju reactor August 25, 2012

[Excerpted] NISA had already ordered fault re-examinations at four nuclear power plants: Japan Atomic Power Co.’s Tsuruga plant; Hokuriku Electric Power Co.’s Shika plant; Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi plant; and Tohoku Electric Power Co.’s Higashidori plant.

NISA has inspected faults at 18 nuclear power facilities in Japan since its expert panel said in April that a fault running directly below a reactor building at the Tsuruga plant in Fukui Prefecture may be active.

The agency concluded that additional geological surveys are necessary at the six facilities, saying faults under the premises may be active.

Experts say a fault running directly below a reactor building at the Shika plant in Ishikawa Prefecture may be active.

Kansai Electric and Tohoku Electric have said faults at the Oi plant in Fukui Prefecture and the Higashidori plant in Aomori Prefecture are not active, but NISA ordered follow-up surveys.

AEC chairman: major change needed in reprocessing nuclear fuel July 29, 2012 The Asahi Shimbun

Q: Why did it take so long to vent the containment vessels? 

A: In the United States, tools are provided to pry open vent valves in case all electric sources are lost. In Japan, while vents were attached, there was insufficient operational training and analysis about the circumstances in which the vents would have to be used.

Moreover, the isolation condenser of the No. 1 reactor was rarely operated. I was told that training had been conducted at the Tsuruga No. 1 reactor in Fukui Prefecture, which has a similar type of isolation condenser....

Majia here: As one can see from these articles, the Tsuruga plant has been beset with difficulties. 

Re-starting a plant known to have "technical difficulties" situated on a fault believed to be active is truly madness.

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