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

Oklahoma attorney general challenges EPA's clean-air plan

A plan by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce emissions from coal-fired power ...

Wave Energy Week will mix marine energy developers with traditional hydropower

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Democrat, has proclaimed “July 13-17, 2015 to be Oregon Wave Week in ...

Public Service Company of Oklahoma seeks rate increase

Public Service Company of Oklahoma is asking for a 13.6 percent rate increase it says is need...

GAO looks at reliability impacts of changing power generation mix

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) on June 29 released a study provided a month befor...

On the day after MATS decision, Bernstein sees only a limited reprieve for coal units

In light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards ...

Pence says Indiana will not comply with coal plant regulations

Indiana will not comply with President Barack Obama's plan to battle climate change by requir...

Westermost Rough offshore wind park enters operations

The 210-MW offshore wind power plant, Westermost Rough, has entered operations. The project w...

Duke Energy to upgrade energy storage system at Notrees Windpower Project

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), Samsung SDI and Younicos will work together to update Duke Energy's ...

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

National Grid Drives Innovation Through REV Demonstration Projects

National Grid Drives Innovation Through REV Demonstration Projects

Cardinal Resources' $28.8 Million Cameroon Red Bird Contract Advances; Company Expects Financing Completed, Implementation, in Q3-15

Cardinal Resources' $28.8 Million Cameroon Red Bird Contract Advances; Company Expects ...

Letter From CGE Energy (McKenzie Bay Intl.) President Bryan Zaplitny

Letter From CGE Energy (McKenzie Bay Intl.) President Bryan Zaplitny

Globalstar and Global Telesat Communications Celebrate 5,000th SPOT Device Sales Milestone

Globalstar and Global Telesat Communications Celebrate 5,000th SPOT Device Sales Milestone

ACORE Releases Public Policy Insights and Recommendations for Renewable Energy

ACORE Releases Public Policy Insights and Recommendations for Renewable Energy

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 >>