A Discussion of Official Reports Describing the Fukushma Diiachi Nuclear Disaster
The references used for this discussion are:
“The Official report of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission Executive Summary”, The National Diet of Japan, 2012.
“FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI: ANS Committee Report”, A Report by The American Nuclear Society Special Committee on Fukushima, March 2012.
“The Fukushima Daiichi Accident, Technical Volume 1/5 Description and Context of the Accident, IAEA, Vienna, 2015.
“FACT AND CAUSE OF FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS ACCIDENT”, Hideki NARIAI, Proceedings of the International Symposium on Engineering Lessons Learned from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, March 1-4, 2012, Tokyo, Japan.
Other sources, such as press reports, industry and authority regulations and technical bulletins will also be used.
The very great complexity of the disaster and of the human and systems responses to the challenges which confronted, and confront, the Fukushima Diiachi nuclear plant and the people operating and tending to the plant is obvious. The aim of this discussion is to attempt to produce, in review, a coherent picture of the events as reported by the authorities given above.
While the nuclear industry and permanent nuclear authorities – the IAEA – tend to agree closely in their reports of the events, the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, appointed by the Japanese national Parliament (Diet) reports various aspects of the disaster with pointedly local questioning of events based upon witness accounts and the Committee’s own findings. And these perceptions, based on local knowledge of both the plant and witness statements actually challenge, in aspects, the findings of the other authorities.
The Requirement for reliable and robust grid connection to Nuclear Power Plants.
As a preamble to the discussion of the disaster, a central consideration to all nuclear power plants in use today has to be included. The long term, intermediate term and short term safety of nuclear power plants depends upon the availability of electrical grid connection and power to the reactors and the entire plant. This is not an opinion, it is a technical fact which nuclear authorities have repeatedly reported upon.
The surprising fact is, that although nuclear reactors can supply electrical power to the world’s largest cities and nations, when the grid goes down, there is no ability for any nuclear reactor to power itself and its systems on any long term basis. There is nothing integral to the reactors which allows the energy resident in the reactors’ cores and pressure vessels to be controlled and managed so as to manage the cooling of the reactors.
While the nuclear industry and nuclear authorities have touted the virtues of nuclear power plant emergency cooling systems for over 50 years. However:
“The emergency cooling systems started. However, they did not work for so long time, and the fuels became to heat up and melt down, resulting the severe accident. “ Source: English translation of “FACT AND CAUSE OF FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS ACCIDENT , Hideki NARIAI, Proceedings of the International Symposium on Engineering Lessons Learned from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, March 1-4, 2012, Tokyo, Japan.
As we shall see later, the workers at the Fukushima Diiachi site during the early stages kept the emergency cooling systems going for many hours longer than the systems were designed to last. And these systems are designed to work for 8 hours only. (See the ANS report).
The IAEA Description of the Co-dependence of Nuclear Power Plants upon the Electrical Grid.
The fact is that nuclear power cannot exist in their current form without a compatible electrical grid, built to a standard. Of all the designed in features of nuclear power plants, particularly in the modern energy markets of the world, this is in my opinion the dumbest feature of current designs. The designs all lack imagination and creative solution. Why is that that the energy resident in the reactor core in an emergency is useless? Current designs render this energy reserve a total liability to safety. All it can do, as we saw at Fukushma Diiachi, is cause meltdown, hydrogen generation, explosion, loss of containment and so on. As dumb as. However there is sufficient energy present in the core of an overheating though shut down reactor to run entire suburbs. All one has to do is figure out how to harness it. To convert heat into electrical power to run cooling pumps is not hard. And surely, for over fifty years nuclear reactor designers must have known the probable solutions to the problem. Use the energy you have, no matter what form it is in. Two solutions which come mind are 1. Thermo Couple – where the interaction of large bi-metal strips turn heat into electrical power directly. These Seebeck effect mechanisms could be built into the reactor pressure vessel, providing reliable long term electrical power. 2. Radio Isotope thermal batteries, as used, for example, by NASA to power spacecraft long term. Nuclear power plants are not short of radio isotopes. Such batteries could power emergency cooling systems for 30 years or more at a time, not a mere 8 hours. 3. Though is it known that an overheating reactor is an excellent generator of hydrogen, and though it is known as the fuel of the future, the world’s reactor fleet, clearly, has a talent for using this explosive fuel only as a means of wrecking the reactor, the containment, buildings and for destroying the emergency core cooling heat exchangers located on the roofs of the Fukushima Diiachi. Bye Bye reactor building, bye bye ECCS. Bye Bye residents over a wide area. Now living in emergency huts still. Still, any complaint made by any person from 1967 until 2020 results in the industry pulling out its mental illness diagnostic manual and labelling such people as radiophobes. 4. Solar power could have kept the emergency systems running at Fukushima Diiachi. Not that TEPCO or the industry would have wanted even a bog standard solar array and a few Tesla batteries spoiling the image of the Fukushima Diiachi roofs. Pity that, now they have no roofs.
It is beyond me why the nuclear industry, for more then 50 years, has been so wilfully dumb, ignorant and arrogant in the design of its emergency systems. And everything else. It seems to me the main aim of the industry is to sell reactors by any means. Whereas the industry should have the main aim of assuring safety in the context of the modern world and the modern world energy market. The problem is, though solar panels mounted on the Fukushima Shima Diiachi reactor building roofs could have save the day by keeping cooling pumps going, the obvious thought is this: why not just replace the Fukushima Diiachi with a solar and wind farm? No danger of meltdown at all. As soon the 2009 scientific assessment came in demonstrating that an earthquake and tsunami was due “within the next 30 years”. that is precisely what should have been down. Perhaps Barry Brook and Pam Sykes, two academic non nuclear experts in Australia, were right. No human skill could have saved Fukushima Diiachi. So why leave it there? Pity the authorities in the nuclear industry hid and suppressed the scientific warnings of 2009, including TEPCOs own confirmation of the growing threat. This is standard procedure for the nuclear industry. It is not a particularly Japanese culture. It is the nuclear norm.
The IAEA requirements for electricity grids which supply Nuclear Power Plants.
The following text is a straight quote from : ” “ELECTRIC GRID RELIABILITY AND INTERFACE WITH NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS” IAEA NUCLEAR ENERGY SERIES No. NG-T-3.8, IAEA, COPYRIGHT NOTICE All IAEA scientific and technical publications are protected by the terms of the Universal Copyright Convention as adopted in 1952 (Berne) and as revised in 1972 (Paris). Reproduced here for study purposes and fair use. I have tried writing to the IAEA but they seem not to reply to normal people. Perhaps they go into shock or something.
Quote: ““The safe and economic operation of a nuclear power plant (NPP) requires the plant to be connected to an electrical grid system that has adequate capacity for exporting the power from the NPP, and for providing a reliable electrical supply to the NPP for safe startup, operation and normal or emergency shutdown of the plant.
“Connection of any large new power plant to the electrical grid system in a country may require significant modification and strengthening of the grid system, but for NPPs there may be added requirements to the structure of the grid system and the way it is controlled and maintained to ensure adequate reliability.
“The organization responsible for the NPP and the organization responsible for the grid system will need to establish and agree the necessary characteristics of the grid and of the NPP, well before the NPP is built, so that they are compatible with each other. They will also need to agree the necessary modifications to the grid system, and how they are to be financed.
“For a Member State that does not yet use nuclear power, the introduction and development of nuclear power is a major undertaking. It requires the country to build physical infrastructure and develop human resources so it can
construct and operate a nuclear power plant (NPP) in a safe, secure and technically sound manner. ” end quote. Source: “ELECTRIC GRID RELIABILITY AND INTERFACE WITH NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS” IAEA NUCLEAR ENERGY SERIES No. NG-T-3.8, IAEA, COPYRIGHT NOTICE All IAEA scientific and technical publications are protected by the terms of the Universal Copyright Convention as adopted in 1952 (Berne) and as revised in 1972 (Paris). Reproduced for study purpose and fair use. emphasis added. Hmm. very interesting. NPPs require a specifically designed and modified baseload capable grid network before they can be expected to safely start up, operation and shut down. Further the grid is needed, according to the world nuclear authority, for SAFE EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN.
The Earthquake and the Grid in Japan on the day of the disaster
One would have thought the following information would have been clearly discussed by the nuclear authorities from the day of the disaster. It’s nearly 10 years and still no word from them:
““Vibrations from the magnitude 9.0 earthquake triggered an immediate shut down of 15 of Japan’s nuclear power stations. Seismic sensors picked up the earthquake and control rods were automatically inserted into the reactors, halting the fission reaction that is used to produce electricity. This sudden loss of power across Japan’s national power grid caused widespread power failures, cutting vital electricity supplies to Fukushima Daiichi. There were three reactors, one, two and three, operating at the time when the earthquake hit while reactors four, five and six had already been shutdown as part of routine maintenance work.” “Japan earthquake: how the nuclear crisis unfolded”. Richard Gray, Science Correspondent, The Telegraph, 20 March 2011. end quote.
The first thing the earthquake did was to cause the shutdown of nuclear power feed into the grid. 15 Nuclear Power Plants threw in the towel because they cannot safely operate during an earthquake. Apparently. Nuclear powered grid guarantees black out in an earthquake. Even when no poles or wires fall down. The grid is a major component of nuclear power and it is a major weakness of nuclear power. This weakness will worsen in future due to climate change and due to fewer and fewer people being connected to the grid. The IAEA guidelines regarding the nuclear compatible grid demonstrates that Australia’s barely adequate grid will have to be substantially rebuilt in order to comply with IAEA guidelines. It will be a major cost. At the present time, the cost of the existing grid comprises a major portion of each person’s electricity bill. Even without nuclear power, this component of the bill will increase into the future. Providing more and more incentive for households to disconnect from the grid. For today the average Australian property can be totally energy self sufficient with solar panels and batteries.
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s stance on the Importance of the Grid
U.S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION August 1988 REGULATORY GUIDE
OFFICE OF NUCLEAR REGULATORY RESEARCH Reissued to correct REGULATORY GUIDE 1.155
STATION BLACKOUT at https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML0037/ML003740034.pdf states the following: “Because many safety systems required for reactor core decay heat removal and containment heat removal are dependent on ac power, the
consequences of a station blackout could be severe. In the event of a station blackout, the capability to cool the reactor core would be dependent on the availability of systems that do not require ac power from the essential
and nonessential switchgear buses and on the ability to restore ac power in a timely manner…..”The concern about station blackout arose because of the accumulated experience regarding the reliability of ac power supplies. Many operating plants have experienced a total loss of offsite electric power, and more occurrences are expected in the future. In almost every one of these
loss-of-offsite-power events, the onsite emergency ac power supplies have been available immediately to supply the power needed by vital safety equipment. However, in some instances, one of the redundant emergencyac power supplies -has been unavailable. In a few cases there has been a complete loss of ac power, but during these events ac power was restored in a short time without any serious consequences. In addition, there have been numerous instances when emergency diesel generators have failed to start and run in response to tests conducted at operating plants.” “The results of the Reactor Safety Study (Ref. 1) showed that, for one of the two plants evaluated, a station blackout event could be an important contributor to the total risk from nuclear power plant accidents. Although this total risk was found to be small, the relative importance of station blackout events was established. This finding and the accumulated diesel generator failure experience increased the concern about station blackout.” The issue of station blackout involves the likelihood and duration of the loss of offsite power, the redundancy and reliability of onsite emergency ac power systems, and the potential for severe accident sequences after a
loss of all ac power.” end quote. Source as given above.
The 1988 US NRC regulatory guide quoted above successfully anticipates, in aspects, the risks to which the Fukushima Diiachi nuclear power complex was exposed to. The concept of Environmental Factors was raised several times in the publication. The Guide discusses the severe consequences which could follow a loss of offsite power. And the findings in the guide are compatible with IAEA statements quoted earlier here regarding the need for a reliable nuclear compatible power grid.
In 2009 Japanese scientists found that the risk of a very large earthquake and tsunami was due sometime “within the next 30 years” at Fukushima. It was predicted that the earthquake would rival or exceed the size of the Japanese 869 AD earthquake and tsunami. At around the same time, TEPCO, the owners and operators of the Fukushima Nuclear power plant found, by technical and scientific modelling that the size of tsunami which could reasonably be expected to strike the nuclear power complex was far larger than previously thought.
In response to these two separate warnings, the nuclear power company did the following: It suppressed its own findings regarding the expected size of future tsunamis from the Japanese people, and from the Japanese nuclear regulator. It did not act on the warning issued by its own staff which called for an urgent increase in the sea wall height which protected the site from tsunami. In regards to independent earthquake and tsunami research which found a repeat of the 869AD Jogan earthquake was due and that it may exceed the size of the Jogan quake and tsunami was ignored and the scientist in charge of the findings was excluded and humiliated, excluded and ignored by both NISA and TEPCO. Nothing was done by nuclear authorities in regard to these warning. TEPCO did however report its own findings that Fukushima Plant was at grave risk from tsunami on 7 March 2011. Before anything could be done about it, the Great Disaster of quake and massive tsunami smashed into Japan and into the Fukushima Diiachi Nuclear Power plant. And of course, the worst fears of US nuclear regulatory staff, held since 1988, but which neither Japanese regulators nor TEPCO did anything about, came to pass in front of the eyes of the world.
For the world nuclear industry, this was PR Armaggedon. And immediately every paid nuclear professional lined up in from media microphones and treated the world to arrogant, confusing, incorrect nonsense. It was nonsense that the disaster was not foreseen. It had been foreseen for the previous 2 years. And nothing had been done about it. Even though the regulator and the power company knew that the GE design called for emergency generators to be in the basements of the reactor buildings, and that the electrical switchgear and emergency batteries were located in the basements as well, and that the basements were deliberately located below sea level even on a dead calm day, and that if the cheap and shoddy sea wall height in place at the nuclear plant, if a large tsunami hit, there would be a severe and catastrophic nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Diiachi plant. This is standard procedure for the nuclear industry worldwide. PR dictates require that everything which occurs within the nuclear fields is deemed to be perfectly safe. Even when the record shows that in reality things are not perfectly safe. The worst that could happen would be core meltdown, hydrogen explosions, loss of containment – venting of radionuclides into land, water and air, and fires. All of these things happened at Fukushima Diiachi. It is clearly illogical to have a nuclear powered grid, with rules that dictate that the grid be reliable, located in a quake and tsunami high risk zone, with the reactors powering the grid being so vulnerable to earthquake that they have to immediately shut down when a quake is detected. And that shut down of 15 Nuclear power facilities mandated that even if the pathetically vulnerable poles and wires of the Japanese grid stayed upright and intact, then 15 reactors would still be in station blackout. AS they were. The stats of the disaster include these: 15 reactors in station black out, 4 suffering major disaster up to an including loss of containment, release of radiological pollution, and complete core melt. Not good odds at all. A proper and full response to this nuclear aspect of the Great Disaster of 2011 would have bankrupted Japan. (Channin).
In confirmation of the warnings implicit in the IAEA guidelines regarding the necessity for reliable offsite grid power, and in confirmation of the warnings implicit in the 1988 Guidelines issued by the US NRC, the Japanese Parliament Investigation Committee found that at Fukushima Diiachi “once the total station blackout occurred, including the loss of a direct power source, it was impossible to change the course of events.” (Investigation Committee Report, Executive Summary, page 1). Both Japanese and US nuclear authorities considered the risk of the worst happening to any nuclear power plant to be “low” even though the consequence of that disaster would be very severe. This attitude has held from 1967 until today. The industry narrative is simple. The world industry blames the Japanese culture for failing the West’s nuclear technology.
I wonder, in the US context, when the next very large earthquake and tsunami will occur due to the behaviour of the Cascadia Subduction Zone. “Though it’s impossible to pin down exactly when this next inevitable event will happen, the odds over the next 50 years range from about one in three for an M8 in southern Oregon to about one in eight for an M9 spanning the entire subduction zone.” (Getting ready for the next Great Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake January 27, 2020, by Bill Steele. Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, https://pnsn.org/blog/2020/01/27/getting-ready-for-the-next-great-cascadia-subduction-zone-earthquake) Feeling lucky? Let’s build some more reactors.
The key takeaway from the above is this: When an operating nuclear power plant, running at normal power, is suddenly shut down for any reason, it ceases to be a generator of electrical power. Instead, it becomes a consumer of electrical power. If power is not available to operate controls, switches, solenoid valves (electrically operated water valves to direct coolant to the reactor), coolant pumps and other mandatory services, then all hell breaks loose and entire nations and their populations are placed in a position of risk and hardship.
The reason for this need to consume electrical power is simple. After an operating nuclear power plant is shut down, the reactor core contents continues to generate heat. Not from the fission of atoms, but from the decay of the fission products. And all power reactors in use rely on external electrical power to remove this decay heat. Spent fuel rods for example have to be kept cooled by water for years after being removed from a reactor. There are hundreds of such fuel rods in each reactor. This, despite the fact was can be suggested which actually used this decay heat from inside the reactor to generate power and so power cooling systems and pumps. The industry has known the answers for decades and has never incorporated them in any of its designs.
The industry, ever aware of the need to advertise and sell it’s wares, has always been reluctant to discuss the downsides to its products with anywhere near the vigour with which it proclaims the claimed upsides to the products. In most nuclear cultures, there is a tendency to isolate, exclude and ridicule those individuals who would point out the downsides to the technology. Japanese nuclear culture is not unique in it’s behaviour toward those it sees as hooligans and dissidents. Even when the industry knows the hooligans are technically and actually correct in their issuance of warning. Fukushima Diiachi’s disaster proves the blindness and stupidity of the nuclear elite. The normal reactor worker has and had no chance to be heard by that wilful and arrogant elite. In the 1970s a number of General Electric nuclear engineers resigned in protest at the inadequate and unsafe design of the GE type reactor. GE was happy to see them go. It did not to induce TEPCO to take extra care and to use extra vigilance with it’s massed rank of GE reactors at Fukushima Diiachi. That company carried on as usual, believing, without question, that nothing could possibly lead to disaster.
The Findings of the Japanese Parliamentary Investigation Committee in respect to Earthquake Damage
There is clearly no doubt that the first consequence of the earthquake was to cause widespread blackouts. The first technological action which manifest this blackout was the programmed behaviour of 15 nuclear plants. These plants automatically shut down and ceased generating electrical power. They cannot safely operate during earthquake. Fission has to be halted. Apparently.
The second cause of the widespread blackout was the destruction of components of the Japanese power grid – poles and wires were damaged and brought down.
No rational person can dispute the vulnerability of a nuclear power plant operating at normal power when an earthquake strikes. If they were not vulnerable to the quake, they would not need to immediately shut down on detection of earthquake. 15 nuclear power plants without grid power is a serious situation. A number of them did not survive.
The industry, including the IAEA, insists that the earthquake did no damage which threatened the safe operation of the nuclear plants. However the loss of offsite power is defined as being “serious” by both the IAEA and the US NRC.
“On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake triggered an extremely severe nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, owned and operated by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). …. “When the earthquake occurred, Unit 1 of the Fukushima Daiichi plant was in normal operation at the rated electricity output according to its specifications; Units 2 and 3 were in operation within the rated heat parameters of their specifications; and Units 4 to 6 were undergoing periodical inspections. The emergency shut-down feature, or SCRAM, went into operation at Units 1, 2 and 3 immediately after the commencement of the seis- mic activity.
The seismic tremors damaged electricity transmission facilities between the TEPCO Shinfukushima Transformer Substations and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, resulting in a total loss of off-site electricity. There was a back-up 66kV transmis- sion line from the transmission network of Tohoku Electric Power Company, but the back-up line failed to feed Unit 1 via a metal-clad type circuit (M/C) of Unit 1 due to mis- matched sockets.” (Diet Investigation Committee, page 12. The National Diet of Japan
Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, 2012.
Previously, as a matter of long standing policy, “NSC informed the operators that they did not need to consider a possible station blackout (SBO) because the probability was small and other measures were in place.” Ibid, page 16.
“There were many opportunities for taking preventive measures prior to March 11. The accident occurred because TEPCO did not take these measures, and NISA and the Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) went along. They either intentionally postponed putting safety measures in place, or made decisions based on their organization’s self interest, and not in the interest of public safety.” Ibid, page 16
“As they (Tepco) had firmly committed themselves to the idea that nuclear power plants were safe, they were reluctant to actively create new regulations. Further exacerbating the problem was the fact that NISA was cre- ated as part of the Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry (METI), an organization that has been actively promoting nuclear power.” Ibid page 17.
Thus the Investigating Committee found the following defects which relate to the industry narrative of the accident sequence and the causes of aspects of the nuclear disaster:
“We conclude that TEPCO was too quick to cite the tsunami as the cause of the nuclear accident and deny that the earthquake caused any damage. We believe there is a pos- sibility that the earthquake damaged equipment necessary for ensuring safety, and that there is also a possibility that a small-scale LOCA occured in Unit 1. We hope these points will be examined further by a third party. (see Recommendation 7)
Although the two natural disasters—the earthquake and subsequent tsunami—were the direct causes of the accident, there are various points in the unfolding of the event that remain unresolved. The main reason for this is that almost all the equipment directly related to the accident is inside the reactor containers, which are inaccessible and will remain so for many years. A complete examination and full analysis are impossible at this time.” Ibid, page 17.
“TEPCO was quick, however, to assign the accident cause to the tsunami, and state that the earthquake was not responsible for damage to equipment necessary for safety (although it did add, “to the extent that has been confirmed,” a phrase that also appears in TEPCO reports to the government and to the IAEA). However, it is impossible to limit the direct cause of the accident to the tsunami without substantive evidence. The Commission believes that this is an attempt to avoid responsibility by putting all the blame on the unexpected (the tsunami), as they wrote in their midterm report, and not on the more foreseeable earthquake. Through our investigation, we have verified that the people involved were aware of the risk from both earthquakes and tsunami. Further, the damage to Unit 1 was caused not only by the tsunami but also by the earthquake, a conclusion made after considering the facts that: 1) the largest tremor hit after the automatic shutdown (SCRAM); 2) JNES confirmed the possibility of a small-scale LOCA (loss of coolant accident); 3) the Unit 1 operators were concerned about leakage of coolant from the valve, and 4) the safety relief valve (SR) was not operating. Additionally, there were two causes for the loss of external power, both earthquake-related: there was no diversity or independence in the earthquake-resistant external power systems, and the Shin-Fukushima transformer station was not earthquake resistant. (See Section 2 of the Summary of Findings)” Ibid, page 17.
Nuclear Industry thwarted, without just cause and via deception, an investigation of Possible Quake Damage at Unit
The tsunami, like the earthquake, was predicted in 2009. Nuclear industry did not act. When disaster struck, the industry felt a need to blame everything on the tsunami, even though, at the time the reactors were built and commissioned, TEPCO was warned that the GE policy of placing the emergency diesels, emergency batteries and electrical switchgear in the reactor building basements was very dangerous. These things should be high up, out of reach of tsunami. Mid level GE executives, in defiance of GE policy, made this warning to TEPCO. (Willacy). TEPCO did not listen. However, not every reactor in the Western is vulnerable to tsunami. Though all are vulnerable to earthquake. It became industry mantra to blame the tsunami and not the quake. The nuclear industry is a sales culture. Its business is selling reactors. As so the Diet Investigating Committee reports the following:
An introduction to the IAEA report – https://wwwpub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/AdditionalVolumes/P1710/Pub1710-TV1-Web.pdf – which gives the sequence of failure of Reactor 1 contains the following diagram and description of the R1 Isolation Condenser ECCS system.
“Isolation condenser. In the Unit 1 design, there were two separate and redundant isolation condenser loops. In these closed loops, the primary side of the isolation condenser received steam generated in the reactor and condensed it by cooling inside the heat exchanger tubes that were submerged in colder water tanks (isolation condenser pools) located outside the primary containment vessel. Condensed steam was then sent as cold water back to the reactor by gravity (see the diagram below). Without mixing with the radioactive
primary side water, the secondary side water in the isolation condenser pools boiled, and the evaporated steam was vented to the atmosphere, which served as the heat sink. The secondary side water volume of the isolation condenser (both trains together) was sufficient for eight hours of cooling before requiring
replenishment from a dedicated water source. ” Note that these condensers are mounted high up in the R1 reactor building. They are heavy, being filled with sufficient water to last for 8 hours in an emergency setting. There are two of them. These are the condensers which the Parliamentary Investigation Committee wanted to inspect.
When the committee asked (via member Tanaka) TEPCO to guide the visit, TEPCO falsely claimed the R1 reactor building was dark and dangerous and that TEPCO would not lead or guide any investigating committee into the R1 reactor building. In reality, the R1 building had sunlight entering it, and several powerful mercury lamps had been installed in the building. It was as bright as day. The inspection – to see what damage the quake had inflicted upon the R1 emergency cooling system condensers has never taken place. There is the view that the quake wrecked the condensers prior to the tsunami flooding the reactor basements, wrecking the diesel generators, the batteries and the electrical switchgear. The industry claims there was no quake damage. Many people dispute this. We wont know the truth until there is an independent inspection. But this is only one of the aspects regarding R1 that is subject to dispute. In around 2050 we may know the truth about the R1 isolation condensers. Did the quake wreck them?