Saturday, December 8, 2012

WSJ Account of Japan's Recent Earthquake

Title: Strong Earthquake Shakes Northern Japan. By K.  Ingaki, E. Warnock, & K. Narioka. Dec 8, 2012 Wall Street Journal, p. A11

Majia here: What is interesting about this article is its selective coverage of nuclear plants that could have been impacted. The last paragraph in the 13 paragraph article mentions the Fukushima Daiichi plant and the Onagawa plant.

No other plants are mentioned - not even the Fukushima Daini plant, which apparently vented radioactive material

M7.3] Reactor1 of Fukushima Daini discharged air from reactor building to have positive pressure
Posted by Mochizuki on December 7th, 2012 ·

The WSJ article states that Tepco "said its monitoring facilities were inplace and that it hadn't detected anything unusual at the plant, which is now shut down. Tohoku Electric Power Co said the three reactors at its Onagawa plant appear to have suffered no damage."

Majia here: Well clearly something is up at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, although the nature of the strange phenomena documented on the webcams remains undisclosed.

Why doesn't the article mention the vent at Fukushima Daini?

Why, of all plants, does the article reference the Onagawa plant? 

The Onagawa plant is one slated for re-start despite quite a few stories in the press about damage to the plant. I'm pasting my collection of references for this plant

IAEA group inspects nuclear plant at Onagawa. Japan Today
[Excerpted] Three reactors at the Onagawa plant, about 120 kilometers north of Fukushima Daiichi, suffered temblors that exceeded their design capacity and the basement of one of its reactor buildings flooded, though the plant was able to maintain its cooling capacity....Despite protests, the government is eager to restart reactors because of the ballooning cost of fuel imports to keep the power supply running....

Enenews: Fukushima Report Introduced by Top Official Hosono: “Other reactors are all in considerably severe condition” — 14 total; Dai-ni, Onagawa, Tokai — “Extreme situations, though not much has been broadcast” (VIDEO)

NHK: Fuel rod container at Onagawa plant found damaged (July 10, 2012)

[Excerpted] The operator of the Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi Prefecture has discovered damage to fuel rod containers at the facility's No. 3 reactor. ...The utility recently used an underwater camera to inspect the 4.5-meter-high metal containers in a fuel rod storage pool.
It found a 2-centimeter-long, several-millimeter-wide chip on one of the containers. It also found more than 12 places on other containers where pieces were missing.
Such damage has never been reported at a nuclear plant in Japan. Tohoku Electric says the fuel rods are intact, and that there are no safety concerns because the reactor is out of operation. But it says will investigate the damage in detail, and inspect the plant's No. 1 and 2 units.

Japan Today August 11, 2012: Onagawa nuclear plant remarkably undamaged: IAEA

[Excerpted] The structural elements of the plant were “remarkably undamaged given the magnitude of ground motion experienced and the duration and size of this great earthquake,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said in an initial report.

Onagawa “experienced very high levels of ground shaking—among the strongest of any plant affected by the earthquake—and some flooding from the tsunami that followed, but was able to shut down safely,” the Vienna-based IAEA said...

News Reports from 2011

A fire was put out at a turbine building at Tohoku Electric’s Onagawa plant, and there was no radiation leak, said Satoshi Arakawa, a spokesman. Three reactors were shut." A state of emergency issued..March 14 2011
Reuters: Water leaks at Japan's Onagawa nuclear plant April 8 2011
[Excerpted] Water leaked out of spent fuel pools at the Onagawa nuclear plant in northeast Japan after a strong aftershock rocked the region...

It [Tohoku Electric] said water sloshed out of spent fuel pools in the plant's No.1, No.2 and No.3 reactors, which had been shut down after the 9.0 magnitude quake on March 11, and had also leaked in three other locations in the No.3 reactor complex...

Tohoku Electric said on Friday two out of three lines supplying off-site power to the Onagawa site -- in so-called cold shutdown since the March 11 quake -- were lost last night in the strongest aftershock so far of the earlier quake.

Cooling operations of its spent pool fuels resumed after they stopped due to the quake, it said, and there was still an emergency backup generator to fall back on.

"We detected a small rise in radiation levels inside the reactor buildings, and are trying to find the locations of the leaks," a Tohoku Electric official said.

Enenews has a story on this as well

Majia here: The WSJ selective focus on Onagawa raises more questions than it answers....

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