The Other Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant

May 25th, 2011

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Since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the world’s attention has been fixed upon the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The six reactor plant suffered major damage that disabled the primary cooling systems on units one, two, three and four.

Yet there is another Fukushima nuclear plant, which was struck by exactly the same forces but has gone largely unnoticed, primarily because there have been so few problems. Fukushima Daiichi translates directly as “Fukushima Number 1,” and was built starting in 1967. In 1976 it was decided to construct a second nuclear power plant, Fukushima Daini, directly translated as “Fukushima Number 2.” The first units came online at Fukushima Daini in 1982, with a total of four reactors being built, the last coming online in 1986.

Both nuclear plants are located directly on the coast. Fukushima Daini is about seven miles south of Fukushima Daiichi. Both plants also have very similar breakwater designs.

Fukushima Daini is also where a worker took these amazing pictures of the tsunami surge flooding the area around the reactor containment buildings. The water actually came in even higher than these pictures show, but the worker didn’t stick around to take any more photos.

Fukushima Daini is also where the first death at a nuclear plant as a result of the tsunami was reported. A worker was trapped in the control booth of a crane at the plant’s exhaust stack by the inundation of water. Rescuers reached the worker several minutes later but found he was already dead.

The quake also triggered a shutdown of all four of the reactors at Fukushima Daini, which had been operating at full power at the time. Significant damage was sustained to numerous plant systems, both nuclear and non-nuclear. The fourteen meter high tsunami that struck the plant was more than twice the height the plant was designed to survive. Fires were reported in at least one turbine room. At least some of the on sight backup power systems were also destroyed.

Three of the four reactors at Fukushima Daini sustained significant damage to their primary cooling systems. Flooding of pump rooms rendered the essential service water systems inoperative for units one, two and four. Backup cooling systems continued to function. Even without the ability to dissipate heat into the environment, the internal cooling mechanism of the reactors assured that enough heat was dissipated into the wetwell of the reactor, providing more than a day of decay heat dissipation.

On March 12, officials began preparations for releasing pressure from the reactors at Fukushima Daini, but this was determined to be unnecessary before any pressure was released. Emergency cooling systems continued to function properly and within two days of the tsunami, the primary cooling systems of all reactors were once again functional. On March 30, secondary systems were once again required when a fault occurred in equipment that supplies power to pumps at one of the reactors. Full functionality was quickly restored.

Since then, Fukushima Daini has remained in a state of cold shutdown. As time as passed, the cooling of the cores has become less critical, and all cooling capacity has remained functional. There were no explosions or other major accidents. There have been no releases of pressure or radioactive material from the plant and spent fuel storage remains stable. At this time the plant is considered safe and secure.

Why Daini survived the quake and tsunami so much better than Daiichi:

There’s really only one glaring difference between Fukushima Daiichi and Fukushima Daini: the vintage of the nuclear technology of the plants. While Fukushima Daiichi was built with reactor designs from the late 1960′s and early 1970′s, Fukushima Daini was built with technology of the early to mid 1980′s.

A comparison of the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi and Daini:

Both plants use boiling water reactor designs developed by General Electric, although in the case of Fukushima Daini, the vendors were Hitachi and Toshiba, who had licensed the designs of General electric. These are similar to reactors operated in the United States and elsewhere.

The BWR-3 and BWR-4 reactors are very similar in design. The primary difference is that the BWR-4 is larger. Otherwise, most of the basic systems and design features are the same. They use a similar containment structure and general layout to the BWR-1 and BWR-2. The containment system is the Mark 1 containment design, first used at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in 1969 for a GE BWR-2 reactor. These reactors would be considered early Generation II nuclear power reactors.

The BWR-5 represents a considerably greater change in design and technology from the BWR-4 than the BWR-4 did from the BWR-3 or than the BWR-3 did from the BWR-2. The BWR-5 introduced newly designed core spray and auxiliary cooling systems. The BWR-5 also introduced the Mark-2 containment design, a complete redesign of the reactor structure. The Mark-2 design integrates more of the cooling and support equipment into the central containment area of the reactor building. It also includes a number of new safety systems. The explosions that occurred at Fukushima Daiichi were the result of hydrogen buildup from a reaction between the zirconium alloy fuel cladding and the water in the reactor vessels. The Mark-2 containment system includes a system that can purge the reactor coolant with nitrogen gas to avoid such dangers. Further refinements were made to the Mark-2 Advanced containment design.

The BWR-5 represents what would technically be considered a late Generation-II nuclear reactor, although many of the design features continued to be used in the BWR-6 and later the ABWR and ESBWR, which GE Continues to market, members of the Generation_III and Generation-III+ reactor classes.

The conclusion that one can draw from the events at the two Fukushima plants is relatively straight forward: While the older BWR-3 and BWR-4 designs are sufficiently safe in most situations, their designs are nowhere near as robust and reliable as newer reactor designs. Of course, despite holding up so well against forces far beyond what designers had planned, the BWR-5 is, by today’s standards, old technology. Newer reactors are much safer still and have even more reliable passive-based safety features.

This is all the more reason why we should be building more nuclear plants. As newer reactors are built we will be able to eventually shut down the older reactors, thus improving economics and safety even further. The events in Japan do not diminish the picture of safety we have when it comes to new reactors. Rather than assuming that reactors will fail in the manner that they did at Fukushima Daiichi, we should consider how well they held up at Fukushima Daini. This is far more representative of new reactor designs, although those are even safer and more reliable still.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 25th, 2011 at 5:43 pm and is filed under Bad Science, Good Science, Nuclear, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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226 Responses to “The Other Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant”

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  1. 201
    Richard Perry Says:

    In May 1974 India explodes its first atomic bomb using weapons-grade plutonium produced in the Canadian-supplied CIRUS reactor. The explosion takes place at the Pokhran site in the Rajasthan desert near the border with Pakistan.
    The name of the bomb test is ”Smiling Buddha”.
    http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_risk/sabotage_and_attacks_on_reactors/spent-reactor-fuel-security.html

    They claim that a large plane will not compromise a spent fuel pool, yet many are like FUKU high in the air with sheet metal roof. There evaluation is a plane running into side at the center of pool. Why would anyone try this approach, aim plane below at ground level and take out the supporting structure or dive through the roof. They only looked at a center side impact. This the only info I could find and all so if anyone can believe that a cask on a rail car would not turn over when hit by the proposed plane when I have seen films of a plain smashing into other planes of same size throwing them in to the air, the casks make it top heavy. But I would not believe anyone would try to search done a mobile target it is crazy.


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  2. 202
    Matte Says:

            Richard Perry said:

    They claim that a large plane will not compromise a spent fuel pool, yet many are like FUKU high in the air with sheet metal roof. There evaluation is a plane running into side at the center of pool. Why would anyone try this approach, aim plane below at ground level and take out the supporting structure or dive through the roof. They only looked at a center side impact. This the only info I could find and all so if anyone can believe that a cask on a rail car would not turn over when hit by the proposed plane when I have seen films of a plain smashing into other planes of same size throwing them in to the air, the casks make it top heavy. But I would not believe anyone would try to search done a mobile target it is crazy.

    Take out the supporting structure of a spent fuel pool…with a plane? If you can do that, why bother with the SFP? Why not go for the containment building that houses the reactor, as it is much easier to destroy in such a manner.

    Why would a fuel cask be worried about a thin aluminium tube when it will survive a direct corner side impact by a massive diesel locomotive? You seem fond of youtube so here you go;
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dopK9r83WDU
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_JhruRobRI
    The official reports are far more interesting. But what was the problem with knocking a fuel cask over? Sure it may be a pain to get it upright again, may have to use a big crane even…

    As to planes crashing into fuelbuildings or containment buildings, analysis and testing always takes the worst parameters into account. Testing was performed with a fighterjet (think flying armoured vehicle) at 600 knots which is worse than a commercial airliner (think fast flying soda can in comparison) doing 900 knots (not at ground level though).

    Work on your english mate, I could not understand that last bit…


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  3. 203
    BMS Says:

            Richard Perry said:

    … this solar looks low maintenance and very flexible for servicing with out shutting down the plant.

    Well, the plant shuts itself down every night.


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  4. 204
    BMS Says:

            Matte said:

    Why would a fuel cask be worried about a thin aluminium tube when it will survive a direct corner side impact by a massive diesel locomotive?

    Not just a “massive diesel locomotive,” a massive rocket-powered diesel locomotive.


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  5. 205
    DV82XL Says:

            Richard Perry said:

    DV82XL, You are getting to up tight, at the beginning of this I was showing what the possibilities are not factual but possibilities with this technology,…

    This whole passage is incoherent tripe, the currency on these pages is fact and you are providing none. Yes that makes me angry – when someone wastes our time with unsupported assertions from their own imaginations.

            Richard Perry said:

    In May 1974 India explodes its first atomic bomb using weapons-grade plutonium produced in the Canadian-supplied CIRUS reactor.

    So what? CIRUS was not a nuclear power reactor, but a research reactor. As well the ‘US’ in its name stands for United States, who also had a hand in it, and the Pu was most likely made from targets acquired from France. I’m a bit tired of having Canada blamed for India’s nuclear weapons program on the strength of having supplied this reactor.


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  6. 206
    Richard Perry Says:

    BMS, But starts up the next day.


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  7. 207
    Richard Perry Says:

    Matte, did they use the target area on the side center for the evaluation. If so this should be better reinforced then the roof with out water pressure behind it. That’s what they used in evaluating a passenger plane hit. Ever hit a drum full of gas, it does not flex like a empty drum.


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  8. 208
    Richard Perry Says:

    For those that do not think nuclear power does not lead to bombs, see this.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_proliferation

    Dual use technology[edit]
    Dual-use technology refers to the possibility of military use of civilian nuclear power technology. Many technologies and materials associated with the creation of a nuclear power program have a dual-use capability, in that they can be used to make nuclear weapons if a country chooses to do so. When this happens a nuclear power program can become a route leading to the atomic bomb or a public annex to a secret bomb program. The crisis over Iran’s nuclear activities is a case in point.[6]
    Many UN and US agencies warn that building more nuclear reactors unavoidably increases nuclear proliferation risks.[7] A fundamental goal for American and global security is to minimize the proliferation risks associated with the expansion of nuclear power. If this development is “poorly managed or efforts to contain risks are unsuccessful, the nuclear future will be dangerous”.[6] For nuclear power programs to be developed and managed safely and securely, it is important that countries have domestic “good governance” characteristics that will encourage proper nuclear operations and management:[6]


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  9. 209
    Matthew Says:

    A question for Richard Perry:

    Which countries can you name that have parlayed their civilian nuclear programs into weapons?


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  10. 210
    Anon Says:

    Whether it is possible to use a power reactor to make weapons grade Plutonium actually turns out to be irrelevant to nuclear proliferation because what really matters is whether it is easier to use a commercially available power reactor or to build your own Magnox or enrichment plant, if it is easier to go with dedicated equipment than to use a power reactor that is exactly what anyone who wants the bomb is going to do and it is also something they could do regardless of whether or not they have a power reactor.

    Turns out that building dedicated Plutonium production reactors is easier than trying to breed the stuff in LWRs or CANDUs and so is Uranium enrichment.

    Remember that the US managed to do both of the dedicated bomb making approaches in the Mid ’40s and they had no nuclear power plants back then.


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  11. 211
    Matte Says:

    Richard, the term “dual use” is a political term and a smokescreen to hide actual components used to manufacture weapons. Many are available on the open market, critical components are riddled with exportrestitrctions and outright bans, and they are never used in the civilian nuclear industry but very often in civilian heavy industry.

    What US and UN institutions say and what they really mean is severely clouded by politics and has very little direct bearing on what this blog is about.

    Anyone touting the term dual use, is either a politician fishing for votes from greenies och incompetent or both…

    Buzzo, your spam-filter is stopping me from posting by the way.


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  12. 212
    DV82XL Says:

    Having seen his original assertions reduced to trash, Perry is now resorting to the well-worn trick of throwing anything and everything up against the wall to see what sticks. Cut-and-paste from Wikipedia is the last resort of fools backed into a corner, not an argument.

    You might want to actually read the paper: Nuclear power without nuclear proliferation? by Steven E. Miller & Scott D. Sagan which the passage you quoted was drawn from. You might find that the situation is not as simple as it is being made out to be.


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  13. 213
    Shafe Says:

            Richard Perry said:

    Why would anyone try this approach, aim plane below at ground level and take out the supporting structure or dive through the roof.

    Yes, just “dive through the roof.” How many dead terrorists would we have before one got within 100ft of the target?


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  14. 214
    Matte Says:

            Shafe said:

    Yes, just “dive through the roof.” How many dead terrorists would we have before one got within 100ft of the target?

    All of them?


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  15. 215
    Richard Perry Says:

            Shafe said:

    Yes, just “dive through the roof.” How many dead terrorists would we have before one got within 100ft of the target?

    Ha Ha good one May be 5 in the air plane when they hit the roof.


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  16. 216
    Richard Perry Says:

    No countries citizens would have allowed the spending of the dollars to develop power as they did to create the Atom bombs, then they had to find away to reduce the cost so told us that they could produce atomic energy at the lowest cost, almost free, it was going to elevate the peoples standing so men would work 30 hour or less a week (now its ~80 hours per family to squeak by).
    One of the huge cost in most nuclear bombs is the production of plutonium and that is one of the remains in spent fuel from NPP. They had this cost now covered by power users but it still needs more work. They had to do this because of the arms race, was it right, YES. But now with the number of bombs in stock I now have to look at NPP the same as any other fuel or energy. I have wondered how much the war departments pay to power companies for the material they get? May be this money would make power to cheap to meter after all if it would show up on NPP ledgers, may be they do but I have not seen it or may be it is the processing companies that sell it to military.

    This site of many that makes the same statements:
    http://www.international.gc.ca/arms-armes/nuclear-nucleaire/nca-acn.aspx?lang=eng

    A though: We have been storing and using great amount of energy since life started, we move up and down when we walk, we use thousands of machines that lift weight to store energy and droop it to use the energy, so there must be an economical way to use this in large scale other then with liquids(why not any solid material that are all around us like sand and rocks). There are small lights now that use any small weight set on it to and create light for a short time, in poor areas it is by far cheaper then oil lamps(cost ~$140.00 fuel a stone set on it and resets when load is removed, same cost as about 4 months of oil to produce light). It has the same problem as solar that the up front cost is high for poor people but those that have saved money from meager wages jump at getting one because they now pay nothing for oil.


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  17. 217
    Matthew Says:

    Hey doc, the RSS feed on the comments seems to be busted. My reader is telling me it’s not a valid feed.


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  18. 218
    Richard Perry Says:

            Matthew said:

    Hey doc, the RSS feed on the comments seems to be busted. My reader is telling me it’s not a valid feed.

    Sorry
    http://www.international.gc.ca/arms-armes/nuclear-nucleaire/nca-acn.aspx?lang=eng


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  19. 219
    BMS Says:

            Richard Perry said:

    One of the huge cost in most nuclear bombs is the production of plutonium and that is one of the remains in spent fuel from NPP.

    Yes, the US government needs plutonium so badly for its nuclear bombs that it has been working recently to build a facility to burn excess weapons plutonium in commercial nuclear reactors. /sarcasm

    Richard Perry, you have to be one of the stupidest SOB’s to comment on this site, and that’s saying a lot.


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  20. 220
    Richard Perry Says:

            BMS said:

    Yes, the US government needs plutonium so badly for its nuclear bombs that it has been working recently to build a facility to burn excess weapons plutonium in commercial nuclear reactors. /sarcasm

    Richard Perry, you have to be one of the stupidest SOB’s to comment on this site, and that’s saying a lot.

    You are saying now but it has changed over the years, but for this industry to start it was different, I claimed this industry would not have started with out military wants, may be I was not clear about that. Anyone else miss under stood my point. It is so open with so much stored waste around the world it is imposable to watch were it goes, governments have admitted losses of atomic bombs even, they may as well tear the contracts up.


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  21. 221
    Richard Perry Says:

            Matte said:

    All of them?

    HaHa, I agree but may be only a few, would they meet the 911 bunch in their heaven.


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  22. 222
    DV82XL Says:

            Richard Perry said:

    One of the huge cost in most nuclear bombs is the production of plutonium and that is one of the remains in spent fuel from NPP. T

    First you idiot, making Pu is probably the least expensive part of the process, the rest of the effort needed to make an implosion device is far more costly. Second, there is no weapons -grade Pu in spent fuel. The Pu in used nuclear fuel is of a different isotope that cannot be used in weapons.

            Richard Perry said:

    You are saying now but it has changed over the years, but for this industry to start it was different, I claimed this industry would not have started with out military wants, may be I was not clear about that. Anyone else miss under stood my point. It is so open with so much stored waste around the world it is imposable to watch were it goes, governments have admitted losses of atomic bombs even, they may as well tear the contracts up.

    You know nothing about the early part of the nuclear fission story if you think it was driven by weapons – try doing some reading before running off at the mouth.


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  23. 223
    Richard Perry Says:

            Matthew said:

    A question for Richard Perry:

    Which countries can you name that have parlayed their civilian nuclear programs into weapons?

    Read this to get a over view:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapon#Nuclear_strategy
    In 1981, Israel had bombed a nuclear reactor being constructed in Osirak, Iraq, in what it called an attempt to halt Iraq’s previous nuclear arms ambitions; in 2007, Israel bombed another reactor being constructed in Syria.

    To show the countries that gained the Atom bomb were years ago, to prove the past you would have to file through news papers.
    If Wikipedia is believable, I feel they are not to bad no propaganda like from government organization promoting an agenda do a search, lots of info


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  24. 224
    Richard Perry Says:

            DV82XL said:

    First you idiot, making Pu is probably the least expensive part of the process, the rest of the effort needed to make an implosion device is far more costly. Second, there is no weapons -grad e Pu in spent fuel. The Pu in used nuclear fuel is of a different isotope that cannot be used in weapons.

    You know nothing about the early part of the nuclear fission story if you think it was driven by weapons – try doing some reading before running off at the mouth.

    So there was no arms race and cold war, over 60,000 nuclear bombs were made and thousands tested, they needed NPP to speed up the manufacturing(Sold NPP in other countries to speed building), now they have many processing facilities to bypass the NPP at a high cost.


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  25. 225
    Anon Says:

            Richard Perry said:

    I have wondered how much the war departments pay to power companies for the material they get?

    They don’t pay anything as the Plutonium in spent fuel isn’t suitable for making bombs with (too much ²⁴⁰Pu and ²³⁸Pu).

            Richard Perry said:

    May be this money would make power to cheap to meter after all if it would show up on NPP ledgers, may be they do but I have not seen it or may be it is the processing companies that sell it to military.

    You’re at the point at which you’re just making crap up and hoping we won’t call you on not having a clue what it is you’re talking about.

            Richard Perry said:

    A though: We have been storing and using great amount of energy since life started, we move up and down when we walk, we use thousands of machines that lift weight to store energy and droop it to use the energy, so there must be an economical way to use this in large scale other then with liquids(why not any solid material that are all around us like sand and rocks).

    When you look at the scale it’d need to be done at the idea just collapses (we use a lot more power than you seem to think we do and there is no prospect of our energy consumption going down without civilisation itself collapsing).


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  26. 226
    Anon Says:

    You were asked which countries turned a peaceful nuclear power programme into a weapons programme, you did not answer the question.

            Richard Perry said:

    In 1981, Israel had bombed a nuclear reactor being constructed in Osirak, Iraq, in what it called an attempt to halt Iraq’s previous nuclear arms ambitions; in 2007, Israel bombed another reactor being constructed in Syria.

    Reactors that were built for the specific purpose of breeding Plutonium, that doesn’t help you case.

            Richard Perry said:

    To show the countries that gained the Atom bomb were years ago, to prove the past you would have to file through news papers.
    If Wikipedia is believable, I feel they are not to bad no propaganda like from government organization promoting an agenda do a search, lots of info

    We know how every country that got the bomb did it, the US, Russia (then USSR), UK, France and China got the bomb before they had any nuclear power plants, India used Plutonium bred in CIRUS, a research reactor and not their power reactors, Pakistan got their enrichment technology from A. Q. Khan (who also spread the tech to Iran), Israel built a Heavy Water reactor (but has no nuclear power plants and it doesn’t look like they’ll build any soon), South Africa developed their own Uranium enrichment technology, North Korea built a dedicated Plutonium production reactor.


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