What Could Have Saved Fukushima From Its Severe Accident

[+] Author and Article Information
Kenji Iino

General Partner, SYDROSE LP, 475 N. 1st St., San Jose, CA 95112

Ritsuo Yoshioka

President, Japan Functional Safety Laboratory, 3-17-24, Hino-chuou, Konan-ku, Yokohama 234-0053, Japan

Masao Fuchigami

Adviser, Komatsu Ltd., 2-3-6 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8414, Japan

Masayuki Nakao

Professor, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4039343 History: Received May 08, 2017; Revised February 02, 2018


The Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011 triggered huge tsunami waves that attacked Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Fukushima-1). Units 1, 3, and 4 had hydrogen explosions. Units 1, 2, and 3 had core meltdowns and released a large amount of radioactive material. Published investigation reports did not explain how the severity of the accident could have been prevented. We formed a study group to find: (A) Was the earthquake induced huge tsunami predictable at Fukushima-1? (B) If it was predictable, what preparations at Fukushima-1 could have avoided the severity of the accident? Our conclusions were: (a) The tsunami that hit Fukushima-1 was predictable, and, (b) The severity could have been avoided if the plant had prepared a set of equipment, and most of all, had exercised actions to take against such tsunami. Necessary preparation included (1) A number of DC batteries, (2) Portable underwater pumps, (3) Portable AC generators with sufficient gasoline supply, (4) High voltage AC power trucks, and (5) Drills against extended loss of all electric power and seawater pumps. This set applied only to this specific accident. A thorough preparation would have added (6) Portable compressors, (7) Watertight modification to Reactor Core Isolation Cooling System (RCIC) and High Pressure Coolant Injection System (HPCI) control and instrumentation, and (8) Fire engines for alternate low pressure water injection. Item (5), i.e., to study plans and carry out exercises against the tsunami would have identified all other necessary preparations.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME; use license CC-BY 4.0
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