- On Friday, June 24, Asahi Shimbun reported the control room records kept by the operators in Fukushima units 1, 2 & 3, and TEPCO’s executives/administrator’s records are available through the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) website. The control room records from March 11 through March 19 were handwritten, but the subsequent records (more than 10,000) were transcribed electronically. We have been scouring all NISA site pages since Friday and can’t find it. If anyone finds the documents on line, please link us through the contact page of the site. Regardless, two disturbing articles have emerged based on these documents.First, Mainichi Shimbun reports the documents say that early attempts to vent the pressure from unit #1 primary containment on March 11 all failed. The final attempt on March 12 to relieve the severe over-pressure condition was successful, but didn’t begin until less than an hour before the unit’s hydrogen explosion. It is possible that the venting failures and resulting extreme pressure build-ups caused leaks to occur from the Primary Containment and into the reactor building. This suggests the initial hydrogen explosion at Fukushima was not due to venting. It is likely that the first hydrogen explosion at Fukushima was due either to multiple venting component failures, operator error, or a combination of the two. Inexcusable error #1!
Second, Asahi Shimbun reports that at 1:17 pm on March 13, control room operators for unit #3 had similar reactor pressure vessel and primary containment indications to those which occurred at unit #1 five hours into the emergency on March 11, when it is believed the #1 fuel cell was uncovered. In other words, there was sufficient information some 22 hours before the unit #3 hydrogen explosion to notify NISA and local governments that another detonation was possible. This did not happen. At 2:07 pm on March 13, operators wrote that they believed a hydrogen build-up was occurring inside the unit #3 reactor building. TEPCO’s executives must have been told because of another entry at 5:20am on March 14 which says the “head office” wanted the operators to check the hydrogen level in unit #3 yet aagain. 6 hours later, unit #3 refueling deck exploded. NISA and local governments were taken entirely by surprise. Inexcusable error #2!
If these two reports are any indication of what really happened…these documents could make America’s Watergate scandal come back to mind
- The waste water decontamination system is officially in operation, albeit at a lower capacity than was initially hoped. Regardless, all Japanese news media and JAIF are reporting this good news. The recycled waters can now be reused, minimizing the total amount of waste water being produced. The water decontaminated during the “test runs” is already being used for RPV injection in all three damaged units. Of the 16 tons per hour now being injected in all three RPVs combined, 13 tons is from the recycled waters. The system is operating at less than full capacity because the Cesium absorber components are stripping the isotopes faster than anticipated, requiring shorter full flow operations before having to replace them.
- Mayor Jitaro Yamaguchi of Mihama Town has gone on record as being in favor of restarting two reactors located within his jurisdiction. Specifically, Mihama units #1 and #3. After meeting with Nuclear and Industrial Safety (NISA) officials on Friday, Yamaguchi said he feels all appropriate measures to avoid another Fukushima accident have been taken by the plant’s operating staff, so there is no reason for them to remain idle. He adds that the official decision to restart is not his, but rather resides with the Fukui Prefecture’s governor, who has voiced his concerns over restarting any of the 14 reactors in his Prefecture. However, Yamaguchi hopes his personal decision will help sway the governor and get the plants operating in order to avoid power shortages in the summer.
- Sunday’s nationally televised town meeting in Genkai for possibly restarting two reactors has produced mixed results. NISA feels it went very well. Six of the seven local residents chosen to be on the Q&A panel were not so optimistic. Some said NISA’s answers to questions were less than convincing because they used terms such as “unlikely and likely”, rather than something more assuring. Others said the terminology used by NISA was difficult to understand, including a university student who said NISA was using difficult words to try and make everyone feel safe.These two objections are central to this site’s position on public information. (1) If something is possible, say it is. If it’s impossible, than say that. “Likely and unlikely” are not convincing to a world conditioned to black and white options. (2) Never use highly technical terminology when confronting the public and/or the press. It only adds to the confusions already present. Keep it as simple as possible. This site is an example that nuclear energy can be explained simply.
- The Tokyo Institute of Public Health has proclaimed that analyses of 100 sampling locations across the city show no radiological health hazards to the population. It is difficult to identify which locations may or may not have higher exposure levels than before the Fukushima accident because many locations have never been monitored before. Regardless, the levels posted on the Institute’s website agree with natural background estimates for the Tokyo Metropolitan area, and no locations come anywhere near health standard limits.