Fukushima is not Tepco’s first big accident. Fukushima was not their first Prom. They had practice only 4 years earlier. And guess what? Even back then Tepco misrepresented the amount that leaked into the ocean.



Chuetsu Earthquake

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) in Japan’s Niigata Prefecture can generate more power than any other power plant in the world—when it’s running. Since it became fully operational in 1997, one scandal after another has repeatedly forced it to shut down some or all of its seven reactors. Examples include concealing evidence of stress cracks and covering up the fact that the plant was built near fault lines.

That last bit came to light after the Chuetsu earthquake occurred on July 16, 2007. The magnitude 6.8 quake’s epicenter was only 24 kilometers (15 mi) offshore from the plant. The shaking was greater than the plant was designed to withstand; it was built before Japan updated their earthquake standards in 2006.

The ominous dry run for the later Fukushima Daiichi disaster damaged KKNPP and its reactors. The Tokyo Electric Power Company acknowledged that 1,200 liters of slightly radioactive water leaked into the sea and that dozens of barrels of low-level nuclear waste broke open during the quake. An exhaust pipe leaking radioactive iodine was also reported.

A report issued on July 19 by the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) claimed the release of radioactive material to be much worse. According to NIRS, the water that leaked into the sea came from the irradiated fuel pool of one of the reactors. Another reactor had been releasing radioactive steam since the earthquake. The Associated Press also reported large amounts of damage to the plant’s infrastructure, with cracks and leaks seemingly everywhere. Liquefaction (formerly solid ground turning to mud) had occurred under parts of KKNPP.

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