NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane and other NRC officials in the darkened interior of Reactor 4 at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex northeast of Tokyo Dec. 13.
NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane and other NRC officials in the darkened interior of Reactor 4 at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex northeast of Tokyo Dec. 13.

NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane stood before plant workers at the Fukushima Dai-ichi and Dai-ni sites Thursday, praised their efforts after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and said the global nuclear community must learn the lessons unfolding from the tragedy.

Macfarlane, who is leading a delegation of high-ranking U.S. officials to a meeting in Japan on improving nuclear safety, toured the stricken complex and praised assembled employees “for the creative and selfless actions” during and after the crisis. “You are true heroes,” she said.

The tour of the facility helped offer a “sense of what you went through” and “what you learned. All regulators need to learn these lessons,” she added.

Macfarlane was accompanied by several senior NRC officials on the site visit, along with U.S. Embassy officers and others. All donned layers of protective clothing and full-face respirators – the same as worn by plant cleanup workers – for the tour of the facility.

Stepping into an industrial elevator for the four-floor ride to the top of the spent fuel pool at reactor 4, heavily damaged by one of several hydrogen explosions to rip through the complex, the visitors stood by the thick steel plates covering the pool. They then descended narrow stairs to view work undertaken by TEPCO to provided added strength to the pool structure.

Reached by a three-hour train and bus journey from Tokyo, the NRC team approached the site through empty villages in which weeds grew in vacant parking lots in front of storefronts with broken windows and interiors littered with debris. The visit came on one of the rare days displaced residents were allowed back to their homes.

The U.S. Delegation will meet with leaders of the new Japanese nuclear regulatory counterpart to the NRC on Friday, then take part in the gathering of global nuclear regulatory officials in Koriyama City over the weekend.

Here is the text of a statement issued by Macfarlane after her Fukushima tour:

Today’s visit to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, nearly two years after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that caused the nuclear accident, was a deeply moving and thought-provoking experience. We commend the people of Japan for their courage in working to mitigate the effects of the accident in the face of tremendous obstacles at great personal risk, especially in the first few weeks after the disaster.

There are a number of lessons that have come from this tragic accident that are important for all countries with nuclear power reactors including: the importance of an independent regulator that operates in an open and transparent manner; the need for measures to prevent and mitigate severe accidents that displace people or contaminate land; and the significance of international cooperation to share experience and expertise to strengthen nuclear safety and security worldwide.

The accident has profoundly changed the nuclear safety landscape and brought a new urgency to improving nuclear safety worldwide. We’ve learned a considerable amount from the accident, identified numerous specific technical issues that require renewed attention, and made measurable progress in implementing improvements. But there is more work ahead and we are committed to working with Japan and other international partners to ensure long-term sustainability in the nuclear safety enhancements made since the accident.

Eliot Brenner
Director, Office of Public Affairs

Author: Moderator

Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

40 thoughts on “Dateline: FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR COMPLEX”

  1. Es admirable siempre el espíritu de trabajo de los japoneses, en especial de los liquidadores que arriesgaron su vida por solventar el problema que el terremoto creó en la central nuclear de Fukushima.

  2. When you are living in the small island, surrounded by the ocean, not any single safety system will save the nuclear facility, while the waves over 20 meters are running forward to you.

  3. It’s amazing how many fail-safe features are built in a nuclear reactor to prevent a meltdown, but it is unfortunate how the circumstances still circumvented all of these safety features. Aren’t there something like 5 levels of protection?

  4. This Article has received a LOT of attention, and there are some excellent facts presented here.
    With that said, here is a documentary from NHK that describes the situation, including the Earthquake effects.
    I expect this comment and the video to be deleted here. Actually, I will be surprised if it even posts.

  5. You are wrong and it is very obvious you do not fully understand the accident progressions at Fukushima. Unit 2 was vented via the drywell causing the massive radiation release, this is in the accident progression records. Unit 2 also suffered a containment cap gasket failure but it wasn’t the bulk of the radiation release. This failure has been visually documented by TEPCO and has been finally admitted by TEPCO and confirmed by a number of researchers including JNES.
    Most of the torus situations at 1-3 were likely already boiled off or turned to steam rendering the water filtration idea useless. The suppression chambers were already failed by the time they tried to vent. This is why filtered vents are needed. The US industry refuses to do them because they are expensive and they have quite clearly admitted to the media multiple times, this is the basis for their resistance.

    You really need to do more research into the accident. You have so many basic and well known aspects of this disaster wrong. Or just stop pretending you know everything and spreading incorrect information.

  6. Wrong this IS based on plant data and other research including JNES concurs that a pipe break is quite likely involved in the failures of unit 1. The Diet report is one of many that look at the actual data. I have been working this industrial accident since March 11th 2011 in depth. It gets really old that some nuclear blogger who only reads newspaper articles thinks they have all the definitive answers when they simply are not putting in the hours and the in depth work needed to make those definitive statements. I see some very basic assumption mistakes made by industry issue bloggers all the time. It is because of their limited information sources and limited time actually researching the disaster, causing them to miss key critical information about the disaster that they make these mistakes. Limited second hand sources is not a replacement for first hand sources and in depth analysis.

  7. Lilly and Nuclear Guy, are You knowingly want to deal with the accident after the fuel already was damaged or You want to prevent that? If we will depressurize the reactor quickly and provide sufficient water reserves for gravity injection we will be able to prevent the zirc-water firestorm and the core damage. Therefore there is no need for vent, filtered or not. And the DF is irrelevant. The public will be safe.

    However NRC has to change its attitude toward the zirconium-steam reaction, has to admit its significance, decisive roll in all of the nuclear reactor accidents. Or even in the washing vessel incident in Paks.

  8. lily, first there are several documents which describe the various decontamination methods and their decontamination factors. water spray has a decontamination factor of at least 2. wet scrubbing using the suppression chamber has a DF of over 1000. I’ll see if I can find a link for this study. Also can you please link whatever you have regarding this? I’m always interested in having more data to look at and ensure I’m seeing all information out there.

    as for unit 2, there’s speculation that there was gross failure of a part of the conatinment, potentially in a flaw which was never fixed in the containment itself (the report i read did not specify PCV or torus). I don’t know if water was missing or not, but i definitely agree that there was a large release of unscrubbed material, and a filtered vent would not have prevented that, as the failure occurred at a non-vented point.

    So here’s where the filter discussion gets interesting. GE BWR containment design forces any material released from the core to be scrubbed by the suppression chamber prior to being vented. If your containment boundary is intact, and you are venting, then you are going to be venting scrubbed pressure, and it is going to be affected by that 1000 DF. Now the “filters” we are talking about, are going to be very similar to the suppression chamber. It’s going to be a pool of water outside of containment that steam can pass through. But here’s the issue, you’ve already scrubbed the material using the suppression chamber, so the improvement here in decontamination factor is minimal. This of course assumes containment integrity and assumes that you have no bypass leakage from containment to environment or containment to torus/pool atmosphere without scrubbing. In the case of containment failure, your filter wouldn’t have helped you in the first place. In the case of a “bypass”, that implies gross structural failure of a containment component, and likely wouldn’t help. The exception is certain mark II containments (i think columbia is one of them) who have a sump directly below the reactor following a core melt, so that plant at might actually be beneficial for a passive filter.

    Anyways….so here’s where it gets weird. If you are venting in the first place, it is to ensure that you can inject water to containment and to keep the suppression chamber cooled. This in turn allows the chamber to keep scrubbing. As long as you have scrubbing, then an external filter provides relatively minimal improvement in DF. If you had a failure where your suppression chamber lost its water, well your vent is useless, because whereever the water went is where containment pressure is going to go, and that failure point is not going to go through the vent.
    Using fukushima unit 2 as an example, a filter would not have helped there with the radiation release, as it passed through a breach in containment. A hardened reliable vent WOULD have helped though, since that would have prevented the breach from occurring in the first place.

    After all that is considered, the industry believes that strategies which emphasize DF should be used, rather than a filter mandate which is not going to realistically be of any benefit in the majority of fukushima type accident scenarios. ACRS agrees with this position. the NRC staff agrees that ACRS position is acceptable as well. so it’s not just the industry who’s trying to push a method through which avoids paying money, its because emphasizing a DF performance criteria allows designs which have the most beneficial impact for the greatest number of accident scenarios.

  9. actually lily if you read the source i posted, and if you read official reports from that oddly named group “The National Diet of Japan” or whatever, they make it very clear that there is no evidence that suggests a large or even medium break loca. There are multiple sources confirming this.
    Now small break loca, what they do say, is there is no data that rules it out, but there is also no data that explicitly rules it in.

    i’ve been following technical documents both inside the industry and outside since the accident happened. reports of pipe breaks do not define which pipes they were, where they were. there’s no information to go off of. Which is why a source like the one i linked is important, because it uses actual plant data to come up to its conclusions.

  10. Cascading SG tube failures must now be re-examined in light of the SONGS multiple tube failures, especially since it would spell disaster if it occurred with a MSLB or other beyond basis event. This 78 page technical document includes 14 questions that affect US Reactor SAFETY, that the NRC, NRR and RES Regulators need to ask SCE to answer at their Dec 18, 2012 NRR/RES Meeting. Then the Regulators need to address the implications of such an event before it leads to a Fukushima-type disaster here in the USA. Just wishing it does not occur during anyones time at the helm of the Nuclear Fleet is not acceptable any longer!

  11. The “lethal” levels they may have been referring to could be the fact that the chronic exposure in both the Chernobyl and Fukushima evacuation zones can lead to death (cancer and other health problems). Just because someone isn’t dropping dead from radiation exposure doesn’t mean there is no health risk or danger. There is a reason both governments have declared these places off limits. The Fukushima evacuation zones are above international standards for exposure. Many parts of Fukushima City and Koriyama City far outside the evacuation zone are over the ICRP exposure dose limits and people are still living in those areas. The govt has been slow to try to clean up those areas and most are unable to leave even if they wanted to.
    I find it odd you assume anyone posting is of a “side” maybe you just consider everything in your world to be an “us vs. them” game towards anyone who doesn’t adopt your specific world view.
    If you consider yourself such an expert at least try to do a better job at providing technically and scientifically sound information.

  12. Re: “After a nuclear accident, the poisons blanket the area, thousands of lethal doses per square mile, maybe tens of thousands, maybe millions.”

    “Lethal doses” uh? Someone forgot to tell that to the communities around TMI and the wildlife and ex-evacuees sneaking back into their Fukushima homes under dead of night. Things are even growing healthy around Chernobyl, thank you. The ONLY reason that region is called “uninhabitable” is because of Japan’s absurd rad exposure minimums that’d stop you at their airports wearing a radium watch. There’s no “lethal” or any rad hazard there as determined by renown international authorities and institutions — not green-research lackies with axes to grind. Heck, has Fukushima real estate values nose-dived? Why not? If the Japanese gov’t felt they’d a Forbidden Zone from the Planet of the Apes in their hands why not just write it off and issue a wavier for free homesteading and corporate relocation there? Won’t happen because half the region who didn’t drink the anti-nuke Kool-Aid would be piling in there. Their gov’t is forestalling resettlement to save face from having knee-jerk evacuated people who didn’t need to be. I hate off-the-wall FUD solely designed to alarm and mislead than truthfully educate. It’s tantamount to crying fire in a theater to recklessly achieve a nightmare phobia’s own ends with unsubstantiated assertions and vaporware proof.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY
    atomicinsights-com site for truth, no bull

  13. Atomic Rabbit, you don’t need a 45 foot tsunami to cause a SBO, a LOCA or a catastrophic multi failure accident. The US also has seriously outdated quake standards and reviews on nuclear plants. There are also a number of likely potential serious natural events that are not being anticipated yet scientists consider them quite likely.
    If your looking for corporate propaganda you could look in the mirror or the IAEA provides a nice outline of the “game”,_29.08.2012/Session_III_Stakeholder_Involvement_and_Public_Communication/2._Kelle_Barfield_USA_0829.pdf

  14. James that IS False Equivalency go look it up. It is a failed argument. Issues in one industry don’t excuse issues in another. This is a common PR tactic. Get a better argument. Your entire reasoning was to claim it isn’t false equivalency then repeat the exact same argument..that is an argument of false equivalency.

  15. Nuclear Guy, that is not correct. There are a number of sections of critical piping that are outside of containment and have been inspected by both humans and bots inside unit 1 at Fukushima. There were multiple workers inside unit 1 that saw pipes break as they fled. One train of the isolation condenser failed and they are still trying to sort out exactly why. All of the actual data collected from the progression at unit 1 points to a LOCA. I wish people who only have a passing understanding of the details of the accidents at Fukushima would quit making technical declarations about the accident when you are clearly not familiar with the details.

  16. nuclear guy your claim is technically wrong in a number of ways. Water injection does not “scrub” the vents that need to happen to lower pressure. Even the vent operations at Fukushima that were done through the torus released considerable amounts of radiation. There is also some speculation that the torus water may have already been gone by then. Unit 2 had to be vented directly from the containment structure rather than the torus and resulted in the largest release of radiation during the early days of the disaster.
    NEI is trying to end the idea of filtered vents. The “performance based approach” in the manner they presented it is the same regulatory capture nonsense that they always attempt to do. Giving some latitude for installation and design differences is one thing. Letting the industry have 104 different filter ideas is a joke. It would also make the NRC’s job much harder and not lead to better public safety. There should be a proven design concept for filtration and only if an operator can prove a viable reason that design won’t work in their situation should an exception be considered. This is all about money. NEI and the operators don’t want to install vents because the will cost money. So they look for any way to cut corners. This time wasting “performance based” excuse is just that. As always profits come before public safety.

  17. On Sun, Dec 16, 2012 at 8:02 PM, Bill Hawkins wrote:

    NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane stood before plant workers at the Fukushima Dai-ichi and Dai-ni sites Thursday, praised their efforts after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and said the global nuclear community must learn the lessons unfolding from the tragedy.
    The tour of the facility helped offer a “sense of what you went through” and “what you learned. All regulators need to learn these lessons,” she added.

    Here is the text of a statement issued by Macfarlane after her Fukushima tour: There are a number of lessons that have come from this tragic accident that are important for all countries with nuclear power reactors including: the importance of an independent regulator that operates in an open and transparent manner; the need for measures to prevent and mitigate severe accidents that displace people or contaminate land; and the significance of international cooperation to share experience and expertise to strengthen nuclear safety and security worldwide.

    Question people of Southern California need to ask NRC Chairman Dr. Allison Macfarlane is why NRC Region IV is trying to defend the actions of an Inefficient, Negligent and Retaliating Utility like Edison, which puts Profits/Production over Public Health and Safety? TEPCO collusion with Japanes Regulators caused Fukushima. Permission by NRC Chairman Dr. McFarlane without a formal/thorough License Amendment and Evidentiary Public Hearings to Restart SONGS Unit 2 will be percieved by the People of Great State of SCal as NRC Region IV collusion with Edison, which can result in Potential Trillion Dollar Fukushima in their Backyards.

  18. Lilly – which US reactors do you feel are susceptible to 45 foot subduction-zone tsunamis?
    Can you point me to the nuclear PR effort that you find so objectionable?

  19. Oh yea, forgot. I was never in the nuclear industry or organizations. Wish I was!

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  20. Er, sorry, you have it backward. Your side is the one that has to cough up certifiable figures in your flippant allegations. Nothing I mention is a “false equivalency” unless you can’t grasp logic. Any junior high student can add up that less than hundred total fatalities involving nuclear power plants over 50 years worldwide is a heck of a lot better than ten thousand documented work/public deaths and millions of respiratory aliments incurred by fossil fuel production during the same period. After all, aren’t health and mortality rates the very core of your rant against nuclear power over other energy means? I mean you DO prefer the historically safest most reliable way of generating electricity — even in the worst of rare accidents, right? And you’d best bone up from independent authorities — not your fear-riddled green friends — on exposure readings at Fukushima as compared other more intense background inhabited sites around the world. If you want to deny all this then take your “fact” challenge up to the NRC or the pros of the nuclear advocacy blogs. They’d be happy to service your qualms, since you seem to have more than fright of nuclear power under your bonnet; it smells like one seething grudge.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  21. Actually NEI’s position is that the NRC should take a performance based approach. One that involved meeting minimum required decontamination factors, rather than having a dictated “everyone shall install filters” issue. Performance based requirements are consistent with NRC agency policy and many other regulations regarding nuclear safety requirements. The advisory committee for reactor safeguards also agrees with this position. The staff has some level of agreement with it, but sees complications with implementing performance based standards in a timely manner (which was an ‘edict’ regarding the filtered vent implementation).

    For some reasoning as to why filters are not required, the use of vents in the first place is to allow water injection. Water would provide the majority of the scrubbing and decontamination that takes place, and as such, by adding water and venting so that water injection does not stop, you gain no real benefit from having filters on your vents. Similarly, you would have a greater benefit by having more water injection systems, more places and ways to spray inside, dedicated scrubbing tanks for radioactive materials, etc.

    Filters do have an advantage that they are passive and do not require action to function. They are also “Easier” for the regulatory to determine if the requirement was met (either filters were installed or they werent), vs having to go over plans, procedures, and designs for all plants to determine if they actually met the required decontamination factor.

    tl;dr, both the industry and NRC agree that improvements are needed, but there are differences all around with regards of how it should be done, and there is more than 1 way to make those improvements.

  22. Lily, first off, there’s no way they could know if safety critical piping failed. The majority of that is inside concrete or inside containment (which has no oxygen and is sealed during operation).

    Second thing is that there are many reports such as this one:
    which clearly show that there was no major damage to structures, systems, or components, due to the earthquake.

  23. NRC is the regulatory body, not allowing to take into consideration the zirconium-steam firestorm in the core -I told. Once the NRC allows the consideration of the real process, the zirconium firestorm in the core, reducing the steam and generating large amount of hydrogen, it will become pressing that the steam bubble covering of the fuel has to be avoided at any cost. Which is possible by venting and depressurizing the reactor and providing sufficient water reserves for gravity injection.

    Worldwide – including Japan. And the nuclear power plants could operate safely. At the present?
    And the Fukushima Daiichi plant was supplied by GE, which is a US company – and NRC is responsible.

  24. The rape of Fukushima Dai-ichi…

    Dear Readers,

    Dressed all in white from head to toe (including a respirator), it was a shotgun wedding. Or worse, a rape. But one way or the other, U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials were out to force themselves and their radiation on a helpless Japan — again. Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 1945. More than a hundred thousand dead, perhaps as many born deformed, or stillborn. Then there was Monju in 1995, and Tokaimura in 1997, and again in 1999. And then Fukushima Dai-ichi, 2011.

    And now they’re back. The NRC delegation wants Japan to restart more of its nuclear reactors. They’ve been pushing Japan for more than a year, but the citizens of Japan have been opposing restart vehemently.

    American nuclear officials toured the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane, who led the delegation, praised the “courage” of the Japanese nuclear workers at the Fukushima Dai-ichi and nearly-as-damaged Fukushima Dai-ni nuclear power plants. The delegation took an elevator to the top of the spent fuel pool at Fukushima Dai-ichi Unit 4, the most dangerous place on earth. They called the accident a tragedy, and said all countries need independent regulators, who need to operate in an “open and transparent manner.”

    We, the citizens of California who live near the also-not-operating San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, can tell the Japanese people exactly what that will mean.

    We’ve been fighting for “open and transparent” nuclear regulation, and independent regulators, for decades. So we can tell the Japanese people that the #1 obstacle we have faced in achieving that — is the NRC itself!

    And although MacFarlane hasn’t been in office long, there’s no reason to expect a change. No changes appears in the offing here in California, where the next NRC meeting about San Onofre will be held with the pubic in absentia — 2700 miles away, in Maryland.

    The NRC continues to work in collusion with the nuclear industry to keep old, dilapidated nuclear power plants open forever — 20 year licenses automatically become 40, then 60, then who-knows-what. It doesn’t seem to matter to the NRC that everywhere they look, reactors are leaking tritium. It doesn’t seem to matter that there is a “waste confidence” issue that federal judges have ruled needs to be resolved. And it doesn’t seem to matter that all over America, nuclear power plants are crumbling due to age. Parts are rusting out and failing abruptly (Davis-Besse’s “hole in the reactor pressure vessel head” in 2002 is a classic example, and Vermont Yankee’s collapsed cooling system in 2007 is another). Major components have failed at numerous nuclear power plants, and it’s only a matter of time before there’s a U. S. meltdown. Will it be San Onofre?

    And what will Macfarlane and the NRC do when there is a U. S. meltdown?

    Mitigate! Mitigate?

    What does THAT mean? Those who have been following nuclear issues for decades (like myself) know it means NOTHING. After a nuclear accident, the poisons blanket the area, thousands of lethal doses per square mile, maybe tens of thousands, maybe millions.

    Accidents displace people and contaminate the land. Hundreds of square miles around Fukushima Dai-ichi are no longer inhabitable. So what does “mitigation” mean? Nothing.

    Imagine if we were to lose ALL of Southern California due to ONE industrial accident! That’s what happened in Japan. San Onofre could make Los Angeles AND San Diego, and all points in-between, uninhabitable for generations in just a few hours. Fukushima is still spewing poisons into the air and water — hence the white suits and respirators for the visitors and workers. San Onofre can do the same thing.

    Macfarlane said the Fukushima accident “profoundly changed the nuclear safety landscape and brought a new urgency to improving nuclear safety worldwide.” But here in Southern California, the NRC won’t force San Onofre to stop trying to restart a broken, old, dilapidated, nuclear reactor! And there is NO transparency, no openness, no independence! Citizens cannot speak to regulators in an adjudicatory process, that is: They can be lied to. No official records of the meetings and hearings are kept, no one is under oath. Promises are made and broken. Nothing changes.

    Macfarlane said we’ve “learned a considerable amount” since the 3/11/11 accident. Have we? Here in California is a perfect opportunity to shut down a dangerous old reactor near numerous earthquake faults AND in a tsunami inundation zone. But instead the utility is trying to spend billions of dollars (of ratepayer’s money) to keep San Onofre operating. And meanwhile, the utility actively blocks or delays numerous renewable energy projects in order to appear to “need” San Onofre. And the state regulators have no shame: They give San Onofre everything it needs.

    Friday Macfarlane will meet with Japanese regulators and then, this weekend, with officials from around the “global nuclear regulatory” community. Let’s hope when she gets back to America, she converts lip service into action.


    Ace Hoffman
    Carlsbad, CA

  25. There are multiple eye witnesses to major quake damage to at least one of the reactors before the tsunami hit. Steam pipes broke and there was at least one explosion inside unit 1 as workers fled the building during the quake.
    Claiming “numerous examples” of nuclear plants surviving quakes is like having a tiger repelling rock. Fukushima should serve as a very clear warning that the design and engineering of nuclear plants worldwide can not survive a major quake. As we are now finding out, many reactors sited using 1950’s and 1960’s understanding of risks from natural forces were insufficient. They are subject to flooding and active faults that were not fully understood when the plants were built.

  26. There is much the US needs to learn from this. Sadly the US industry seems more intent on PR and keeping the status quo rather than any honest effort to learn from Fukushima. The fact that US reactor owners are fighting filtered vents the NRC wants to implement is a prime example. The venting of unit 2 at Daiichi was the largest release event of radiation during the initial disaster. People still trying to evacuate 5km away were showered in this. Any sane person would see installing vents is an obvious needed system after what happened. The industry doesn’t want latitude to design vents as needed, they don’t want to install them at all. Why? Money.

  27. Every time you show up here (or anywhere else I happen to see) peddling this False Equivalence industry BS I will call you on it. The fossil industry has nothing to do with nuclear power and Denver has nothing to do with Fukushima. Please stop spreading such junk science. COSMIC radiation seen due to the altitude of Denver is not the same as living in heavily contaminated areas of Fukushima where both internal and external contamination from completely different types of radiation sources are involved.
    What is painfully obvious is that a few people like James in the nuclear power industry have no shame and will say anything anywhere to try to buffalo the public.

  28. “Many believe the quake was responsible,if true ..” then you use this unsubstantiated comment to show the vulnerability of SONGS npp. When you base your argument on speculation or assumptions it crushes its validity. I can’t think of one nuclear meltdown resulting from an earthquake in nuclear’s history. I can find numerous examples of nuclear plants that have withstood one though. I may be wrong but I don’t believe so. This whole strategy of blaming the quake and not the tsunami smacks of desperation , as if you are looking for any ammo to use in your quest to end nuclear energy.

  29. The nrc is a united states nuclear regulatory body that has no jurisdiction in Japan. How are they responsible for fukushima ?

  30. Note: The NRC is not the regulatory agency responsible for oversight of nuclear power plants in Japan.

  31. It really would be nice if NRC would take responsibility for the accident, since NRC is the regulatory body, not allowing to take into consideration the zirconium-steam firestorm in the core. Whitewashing is not working anymore!

  32. We are VERY lucky that the new Chairman of the NRC is a highly respected Geologist because the NRC needs to start giving much more importance to potential Earth Quakes than they have in the past, illustrated by the fact that US reactors are not build to anywhere near the degree of Earth Movement standards as the ones in Japan and we all know how Fukushima faired when struck by a BIG Earth Quake…

    BTW Many in Japan and elsewhere believe that the Quake not the Tsunami was the true cause of the Fukushima triple meltdown; which if true would be yet another reason to NEVER allow SORE (San Onofre Reactor Emergency) to ever be restarted!

    Ever wonder why can’t the UN get involved in radioactive issues,
    Here is the answer: READ Nuclear Controversies


    In 1995, the Director General of WHO Dr. Hiroshi Nakajima, tried to inform on Chernobyl by organizing in Geneva an international conference with 700 experts and physicians. This tentative was blocked. The International Agency for Atomic Energy blocked the proceedings, which were never published. The truth on the consequences of Chernobyl would have been a disaster for the promotion of the atomic industry.
    This film shows the discussions at the following WHO- congress in Kiev in 2001, that lead to the fatal disregarding of internal radiation consequences throughout the nuclear world.
    The full transcript can be found here:

  33. Here are some of the actual US NRC emails made after 3/11/11, they give a great insight into just how “bad” things were at the time, note that sometimes they started speaking in Spanish and or “code” to remind each other that they should watch what they say, knowing that these emails might be made public…

    Click to access ML11175A278.pdf

    IMO They were more concerned about PR “damage control” than anything else! There was a later directive for people working in other US National Labs to not get involved unless they had permission (Hint: Don’t say or volunteer)…

  34. Nice info brief. I only wish the Oil and Gas industries as deeply reviewed and built on all the studies and findings of the much truer mortal catastrophes and tragedies of their far more destructive accidents — which continue to occur again and again. I hope the Japanese government lets the Fukushima population return to their homes to stay as they should’ve long ago, or maybe we ought take a cue from their excessive caution and evacuate Denver.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  35. It sounds like a useful and worthwhile trip.

    Fortunately the lessons mentioned here were always strengths in the US system. Updates to make accident responses robust in the face of other competing problems are welcome. There are other important lessons that perhaps do not reflect current US processes:
    – clear allocation of responsibilities in a crisis
    – independent (ie. non-NRC or equivalent) assessment of holistic health and societal risk, potential or actual. arising from accidents and responses
    – the relative strength of spent fuel pools compared to risk models
    among others.

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