Skip to comments.Researcher warned 2 yrs ago of massive tsunami striking nuke plant
Posted on 03/26/2011 9:35:18 AM PDT by SteveH
A researcher said Saturday he had warned two years ago about the possible risk of a massive tsunami hitting a nuclear power plant in Japan, but Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant crippled by the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami, had brushed off the warning.
According to the researcher, Yukinobu Okamura, and the records of a government council where he made the warning, TEPCO asserted that there was flexibility in the quake resistance design of its plants and expressed reluctance to raise the assumption of possible quake damage citing a lack of sufficient information.
''There should be ample flexibility in the safety of a nuclear power plant,'' said Okamura, head of the Active Fault and Earthquake Research Center at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. ''It is odd to have an attitude of not taking into consideration indeterminate aspects.''
Okamura had warned in 2009 of massive tsunami based on his study since around 2004 of the traces of a major tsunami believed to have swept away about a thousand people in the year 869 after a magnitude 8.3 quake off northeastern Japan.
Usually when any similar study (not specifically about nuclear plants, but any natural disaster threat) about anywhere in the US gets posted, people rush to mock it and accuse the researcher of angling for more research funds.
Tyranny of the status quo. Except in the free market, almost always takes a disaster or two to change things.
People always underestimate the potential downside costs.
BP did it in the Gulf. TEPCO did this when they built a nuke plant on a fault line.
Not that they shouldn't do these things. It just costs so much more to build in the necessary safeguards when you correctly estimate the downside costs. I bet TEPCO did not have a scenario in their financial model that envisioned a 8.9 earthquake taking out external power, the resulting tsunami taking out diesel backups, and battery backups failing. Sure that was a 'perfect wave' of bad events, but if you can imagine it it is possible.
Even in the free market, it frequently takes a disaster or two to change things.
In government, always "x" number of disasters but it's never their fault and the government solution is always of course...
Always, always, always, always more government. *sigh*
Brushing off the warning is an unclear answer. Maybe the question relating to what size tsunami the current configuration was designed to withstand was not asked or answered. Certainly the system was designed to withstand some level tsunami, but without adequate safety factors.
What size tsunami did the original design accommodate? How much larger was the actual tsunami?
The warnings outnumber the catastrophes 100-to-1.
In the context, I think brushing off the warning was inappropriate given the downside risks and the expertise of the questioner.
More on the context of the discussion here:
I think the tsunami was 2 to 3 times what was planned for. The sad thing, if the reports are true that the diesel generators stopped running after two hours because the main fuel storage tanks had been damaged or th efule was fouled, the fix would have been fairly simple. As it was, everything worked until the fuel in the day tanks was gone. The plant survived an earthquake and a tsunami that were both beyond the design parameters.
By not ensuring the availability of the fuel in the main tanks the Japanese cost themselves billions of dollars in damages, clean up costs and lost revenue.
Why did the government not move the 27,000 people from harms way from the Tsunami’s path if the researcher was warning TEPCO? Tell them that they must move from their home and land so they won’t die when the inevitable Tsunami comes?
If we all could live in rubber rooms a mile below the surface of the earth, I’m sure we would all be much safer. I really doubt that our lives would be richer and they would likely be much shorter.
Living involves risks. Wringing our hands over situations like this seems to be a popular pastime. My hope is that we learn what we need to learn and move on.
“...brushed off the warning..”
And if they had embraced the warning, what actions would they have taken?
“Tyranny of the status quo. Except in the free market, almost always takes a disaster or two to change things.”
Like the bankers in 2007? The problem is that most execs just want that bonus and those stock options short term. Spending billions to fix any issues rains on their parade. They just hope nothing will happen until they get out.
No, like commerce in our country before big government started meddling with and screwing up just about every facet of our economy including wrong-headed bullying and incentives for the banking industry.
The problem is that most execs just want that bonus and those stock options short term. Spending billions to fix any issues rains on their parade. They just hope nothing will happen until they get out
That's right but given the chance, competition in the free market allows leaner, hungrier, and better-integrated companies to win by passing on their lower costs and better service to the consumer. Our big government "helper" often prevents this from happening. Government is the root of our economic ills.
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