Report: Tsunami, not earthquake, caused nuclear disaster at Fukushima

The March 11 earthquake was not a major factor in the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, according to a report from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Investigation Commission. The commission found that the tsunami was the “direct cause” of the disaster.

After the magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck, a safe emergency shutdown was achieved and control rods were fully inserted within seconds, and all 13 diesel generators started as per design. Cooling systems and instrumentation were working correctly.

Shaking recorded at the site was around the maximum that the plant was designed to handle and still maintain nuclear safety but walk-down checks by plant staff showed no indication of significant damage to coolantsystems, the report said.

However, tsunami waves inundated the plant with up to 9 meters (29 ft) of water, which flooded six of the generators and ruined the supporting equipment of another six within an hour of the earthquake, the report said. The remaining unit was used alternately to maintain essential systems at units 5 and 6, using only one of three power distribution panels. Some 36 other distribution panels were rendered useless by the water, according to the report.

The lack of emergency power and the inability to restore it eventually led to the loss of four reactor units and a release of radioactivity.

The report was based in part on analysis of observable factors at the site - such as high-water marks and physical damage - in addition to reams of hard data produced by reactor control systems up to the time they lost power.

The commission is comprised of experts independent of plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Subscribe to Nuclear Power International magazine

Sponsored by FLSmidth

Related Articles

GE's 9F.05 gas turbine,  GE delivers equipment for natural gas-fired power plant in Turkey

GE delivers equipment for natural gas-fired power plant in Turkey

GE (NYSE: GE) has entered into a 20-year contractual services agreement (CSA) with GAMA Enerji for an 840-MW natural gas-fired combined cycle power plant in Kirikkale, Turkey.

Collicutt Energy Services expands California market with MTU Onsite Energy

Collicutt Energy Services Inc. has signed an agreement with MTU Onsite Energy Corp. to expand its power generator distribution and associated services throughout the California market.

Follow Power Engineering on Twitter

Latest News

02-25 Henry Hub Average Natural Gas Spot Prices

02/25 Henry Hub Average Natural Gas Spot Prices

The Henry Hub is the pricing point for natural gas futures contracts traded on the New York M...
 GDF Suez wants Areva to deliver nuclear reactors, wind turbines

GDF Suez wants Areva to deliver nuclear reactors, wind turbines

GDF Suez says it received guarantees from Areva for planned nuclear reactors in Turkey and wi...
 CB&I: We’re not liable for $247mn nuclear power project penalties

CB&I: We’re not liable for $247mn nuclear power project penalties

Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I, NYSE: CBI) say they should not be liable for any of the ...
 Siemens upgrades I&C system of GE steam turbines for first time

Siemens upgrades I&C system of GE steam turbines for first time

Siemens (NYSE: SI) received an order to upgrade the instrumentation & controls (I&C) ...
 Weekly Coal Production

Weekly Coal Production

The Weekly Coal Production Report has been updated for the week ended February 21, 2015.

 North Dakota coal production increases 4 percent in 2014

North Dakota coal production increases 4 percent in 2014

North Dakota is known for its booming oil fields, but coal mining in the state also is a heal...
 Spanish company buying US utility serving northeast for $3B

Spanish company buying US utility serving northeast for $3B

Spain's leading electricity and natural gas utility, Iberdrola, says it will buy the northeas...
 Ohio utility regulators reject AEP plan for coal plants

Ohio utility regulators reject AEP plan for coal plants

Ohio utility regulators have rejected an American Electric Power proposal to guarantee profit...

Power Engineering Current Issue

02/01/2015
Volume 119, Issue 2
1502PE-cover

Products Showcase

Dynamic Fluoride Ion cleaning DFIC of industrial natural gas turbines Hi-Tech Furnace Systems

Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning of IGT Parts

The Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning (DFIC) Process from Hi-Tech Furnace Systems is able to clean deep, narrow cracks of oxides by cycling between negative, atmospheric, and positive pressure.

Archived Articles

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015

Power Industry Wire News

Manitok Energy Inc.'s CEO Mass Geremia Interviewed by The Energy Report

Manitok Energy Inc.'s CEO Mass Geremia Interviewed by The Energy Report

UGE International Ltd. Announces Private Placement

UGE International Ltd. Announces Private Placement

REMINDER: Scorpio Tankers Inc. Announces Fourth Quarter and Year End Earnings Release Date and Conference Call Details

REMINDER: Scorpio Tankers Inc. Announces Fourth Quarter and Year End Earnings Release D...

Mountain High Acquisitions to Acquire Freedom Seed and Feed, the First Federally Permitted Hemp Seed and Fiber Farm in the USA

Mountain High Acquisitions to Acquire Freedom Seed and Feed, the First Federally Permit...

Babcock & Wilcox Ends 2014 on High Note With Solid Bookings, $5.3 Billion Backlog, an Industrial Info News Alert

Babcock & Wilcox Ends 2014 on High Note With Solid Bookings, $5.3 Billion Backlog, an I...

Power Engineering

Article Archives for Power Engineering Magazine

Continuing Education

Professional Development Hours

To access a course listing associated to a specific topic listed below, click on the topic of choice from the list below.

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>