The more political thread besides Japan Earthquake: nuclear plants scientific one

by jlduh
Tags: scientific
 Admin P: 21,827 I attended a presentation by Kiyoshi Kurokawa who was chair of NAIIC. I agree with what I heard from him. He has written some comments and given other talks on the NAIIC report http://www.kiyoshikurokawa.com/en/20...c-10-talk.html http://www.kiyoshikurokawa.com/en/20...-9-contin.html One has to search his blog for the various talks. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012...shima-disaster
PF Gold
P: 1,220
 Quote by tsutsuji http://naiic.go.jp/wp-content/upload...ort_lo_res.pdf 38/88 : "60 patients died in March from complications related to the evacuation"
The full English translation of the Diet's investigation report is now available at: http://warp.da.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/...ort/index.html

Here is an exerpt concerning the 60 deaths :

 b. The sixty lives that could not be saved According to our investigation, at least 60 people died in the seven hospitals and in long-term care health facilities by the end of March 2011. The numbers of hospitalized patients who died between “the time after the earthquake and before the evacuation” and the “completion of transferring the hospitalized patients to different hospitals” were thirty-eight from Futaba Hospital, four from Futaba Kosei Hospital, three from Imamura Hospital, and three from Nishi Hospital.[56] The people admitted to the longterm care health facility affiliated with Futaba Hospital evacuated together with the hospitalized patients in Futaba Hospital, ten of whom died. More than half of the deceased people were elderly people 65 years or older. It is apparent that Futaba Hospital, where more than 40 people died by the end of March 2011, experienced the severest evacuation situation, since it was relatively slow to secure evacuation shelters with medical equipment and transportation for evacuation; in addition it had a large number of hospitalized patients. http://warp.da.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/...apter4_web.pdf page 30/115
 One hundred twenty-nine seriously ill patients were left behind in the hospital,[59] to whom only six medical professionals at most, including the employees of the adjacent long-term care health facility affiliated with Futaba Hospital and the doctors who returned to the hospital, provided medical treatment and nursing care over the three days it took to complete the evacuation. There were shortages of both daily commodities and medical supplies, and they only had candles for lighting. Although the doctors provided the best possible medical treatment they could at that time, four patients died in the hospital by March 15, 2011. http://warp.da.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/...apter4_web.pdf page 32/115
 Three patients died in the vehicles during the evacuation and an additional 11 patients died at the high school by early morning the following day (refer to Figure 4.2.3-3). http://warp.da.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/...apter4_web.pdf page 33/115
 PF Gold P: 1,220 http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/genpatsu-...103/index.html Tepco is going to install a new office, called "Fukushima main office", in Fukushima prefecture with a main office function. It will have a 4000 workforce, including hundreds moved from Tokyo, the personnel that has been in charge of compensation payment, and a vice-president-level top management. The purpose is to better reflect the needs of Fukushima prefecture inhabitants and local government bodies, in response to remarks that it had been insufficient.
P: 1,042
 Quote by tsutsuji The full English translation of the Diet's investigation report is now available at: http://warp.da.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/...ort/index.html
Thanks for this. I get tired of people claiming that no-one died because of the accident.
 PF Gold P: 1,220 My opinion at this point is that: People died. Tepco was not aware of the tsunami threat. SBO studies, like the 1993 Japanese one were supposed to be "top of the notch" : http://www.physicsforums.com/showthr...ic#post3943942 Tsunami science is a young science. Nothing comparable with nuclear physics, which is an old, mathematical science, with largely predictable results when given a realistic set of causal predictions. Almost nobody was really aware that nuclear plants relied on other sciences beyond nuclear physics. Three Miles Island and Chernobyl were nuclear physics gone wrong. Fukushima was not. Fukushima was tsunami science gone wrong. The November 2010 IAEA-supported Masao Takao presentation, based on the Chile tsunami of 28 February 2010 saying that "we assessed and confirmed the safety of nuclear power plants" http://www.jnes.go.jp/seismic-sympos...sionB/B-11.pdf 24/25 , was wrong. Even the groups that are most critical about nuclear plants such as Greenpeace didn't care about scientific presentations like the one by Toshiaki Sakai (Tepco) in a public event in Miami in 2006 : http://www.asmedl.org/getabs/servlet...ifs=Yes&ref=no "we still have possibilities tsunami height may exceeds the determined design tsunami height due to uncertainties regarding the tsunami phenomena". Yet, regardless the uncertainties about the 869 Jogan tsunami, the Kamtchatka tsunami of 1952 should have been regarded as relevant for Japan. Even non-specialists like you or I should have known about the Kamtchatka tsunami. Everybody should have known about the Kamtchatka tsunami. Everybody should have understood that Japan was just as vulnerable to tsunamis as Kamtchatka. This was not so difficult to understand. Just look at a map. Just look how similar Japan and Kamtchatka are.
P: 916
 Quote by tsutsuji My opinion at this point is that: People died. Tepco was not aware of the tsunami threat. SBO studies, like the 1993 Japanese one were supposed to be "top of the notch" : http://www.physicsforums.com/showthr...ic#post3943942 Tsunami science is a young science. Nothing comparable with nuclear physics, which is an old, mathematical science, with largely predictable results when given a realistic set of causal predictions. Almost nobody was really aware that nuclear plants relied on other sciences beyond nuclear physics. Three Miles Island and Chernobyl were nuclear physics gone wrong. Fukushima was not. Fukushima was tsunami science gone wrong. The November 2010 IAEA-supported Masao Takao presentation, based on the Chile tsunami of 28 February 2010 saying that "we assessed and confirmed the safety of nuclear power plants" http://www.jnes.go.jp/seismic-sympos...sionB/B-11.pdf 24/25 , was wrong. Even the groups that are most critical about nuclear plants such as Greenpeace didn't care about scientific presentations like the one by Toshiaki Sakai (Tepco) in a public event in Miami in 2006 : http://www.asmedl.org/getabs/servlet...ifs=Yes&ref=no "we still have possibilities tsunami height may exceeds the determined design tsunami height due to uncertainties regarding the tsunami phenomena". Yet, regardless the uncertainties about the 869 Jogan tsunami, the Kamtchatka tsunami of 1952 should have been regarded as relevant for Japan. Even non-specialists like you or I should have known about the Kamtchatka tsunami. Everybody should have known about the Kamtchatka tsunami. Everybody should have understood that Japan was just as vulnerable to tsunamis as Kamtchatka. This was not so difficult to understand. Just look at a map. Just look how similar Japan and Kamtchatka are.
Let's start by assuming every point you made is correct. They surely seem to be correct based on what has been discussed here. The only point I disagree is that noone knew that more than one science was involved.

People should understand that very little in life can be treated has a single scientific or engineering basis. Dependence on other engineering disciplines apart from nuclear physics is nothing new. Pressure Vessel engineering depends on mechanical engineering that learned from steam boiler explosions. Corrosion and flow-related erosion pipe failures have led to improvements in chemistry and metalurgy. Natural Gas pipeline explosions still happen. Computers and mathematics have evolved drastically since the days when slide rule accuracy was a limitation that required massive margins for safety. The Verazzano Narrows bridge collapsed. Seismic design and geology have applications beyonf nuclear power plants with the same sort of uncertainties as tsunamis. Meteorlogy is another science that Hurricane Sandy just tested. We could go on and on. Anything as complicated as a nuclear power plant involves almost every scientific field you can imagine.

So I move back to your post. What conclusions do you derive from the facts/opinions you list? Can mankind learn from disasters? If you conclude we need to drop the nuclear option, is it even possible to significantly reduce risks by closing nuclear plants? Even after TMI2, Chernobyl, and Fukushima over the last 50 years, the number of deaths and finasncial damages from other hazards is much worse. Consider Hurricanes and Typhoons. Consider the deaths in Japan from the Tsunami that had nothing to do with Fukushima. Pipeline accidents and mining accidents have killed more people. Warfare has killed millions and resulted in destruction beyond imagination. Transportation accidents (auto, aircraft, ships) still occur and result in loss of life and property. If we only consider the relative risk from nuclear power against the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses, the risk from nuclear doesn't even register on the same scale.

I understand that the huge impact to Japan and the disaster-related deaths are staggering, but absent a firm understanding of the impacts of the alternatives to powering our future, what should we be doing differently? I believe much of the redesign and lessons-learned underway in the nuclear industry is fully justified. So the strawman that I think doing nothing is acceptable won't wash. I am not arguing with your list, Tsutsuji, I really would like to hear how we can reduce risk other than learning from every science we have. Can we survive as a modern society if we retreat every time there is an accident?
P: 595
 Quote by NUCENG If we only consider the relative risk from nuclear power against the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses, the risk from nuclear doesn't even register on the same scale.
Ukrainians who still pay for the Chernobyl area maintenance and who lost thousands of square kilometers of land - still not safe for habitation for years to come - are disagreeing with you.

 what should we be doing differently?
Who are "we"? Humanity as a whole?
I'd like to (again) identify a much smaller "we": the nuclear industry. If "you" (nuclear industry) want "us" (the unwashed masses) to support you, you MUST stop causing Chernobyls and Fukushimas, short of truly disastrous events beyond any control and prediction (asteroid impact etc). Tsunamis in Japan ARE NOT beyond prediction.

 I believe much of the redesign and lessons-learned underway in the nuclear industry is fully justified.
I see that in Fukushima some of Chernobyl "lessons learned" weren't in fact learned. This is a very troubling sign.
P: 119
 Quote by nikkkom Ukrainians who still pay for the Chernobyl area maintenance and who lost thousands of square kilometers of land - still not safe for habitation for years to come - are disagreeing with you.
You are mistaken.
We have built several nuclear power plants after the disaster and plan for the future to build another 2 blocks
But Japan, by this time, no more than 10 percent of what was done in the Soviet Union after the disaster.
When we talk about the lessons of Chernobyl, we speak of a "culture of safety."
This is the second reason for the disaster in Japan after the tsunami.

Excuse my English, I use a translator
P: 595
 Ukrainians who still pay for the Chernobyl area maintenance and who lost thousands of square kilometers of land - still not safe for habitation for years to come - are disagreeing with you.
 Quote by a.ua. You are mistaken.
LOL. You don't realize that I *am* an Ukrainian. :)
I am mistaken about what exactly?
Ukrainian budget does not allocate $for Chernobyl maintenance?? Chenobyl zone is not closed for habitation??  We have built several nuclear power plants after the disaster and plan for the future to build another 2 blocks How is that relevant to what I have stated?  But Japan, by this time, no more than 10 percent of what was done in the Soviet Union after the disaster. True. Japanese did not send people inside ruined reactor units to pick up melted fuel rods with bare hands, as was done in Chernobyl. You know, I am *happy* they did not do anything like that. Post-accident cleanup in Fuku looks better that Chernobyl.  PF Gold P: 1,220 http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/genpatsu-...015_odaka.html The Namie-Odaka NPP project is canceled, Tohoku Electric announced. Fukushima Daiichi units 7-8 excepted, it is the first time a Nuclear Plant project is canceled in Japan since the accident.  P: 11 P: 468  TEPCO executives spared from indictment Japanese prosecutors have decided not to indict former TEPCO executives for insufficient precautions against a massive tsunami, and their handling of the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Fukushima residents and others filed criminal complaints against Tokyo Electric Power Company and more than 40 people. They include former TEPCO chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and other top management, former Nuclear Safety Commission head Haruki Madarame and former Prime Minister Naoto Kan. Prosecutors said on Monday that TEPCO, its former executives and others cannot be held criminally responsible. They say the accused could not predict the real dangers of such a massive earthquake and tsunami. They say TEPCO's failure to carry out countermeasure construction after it projected in 2008 a scenario of a huge tsunami of more than 15 meters, cannot be considered socially irresponsible behavior. The plaintiffs say they do not accept the conclusions of the ruling. They plan to take the issue to a prosecution inquest panel made up of randomly selected citizens. Sep. 9, 2013 - Updated 11:37 UTC http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/engli...130909_39.html "Prosecutors said on Monday that TEPCO, its former executives and others cannot be held criminally responsible. They say the accused could not predict the real dangers of such a massive earthquake and tsunami. [...] They say TEPCO's failure to carry out countermeasure construction after it projected in 2008 a scenario of a huge tsunami of more than 15 meters, cannot be considered socially irresponsible behavior" Well, based on all the cover ups that Tepco did before and after the accident, this is pretty surprising... Especially when you consider this: http://enformable.com/2012/05/tepco-...-tsunami-risk/  16 May 2012 - Tokyo Electric Power Company admitted to JiJi Press reporters on Tuesday that it was aware a tsunami could cause a total blackout 5 years before last March’s disaster, but did not act on the knowledge. TEPCO has been determined to have ignored at least one other warning years later of a possible 10-meter tsunami. TEPCO said a public-private study panel that was attended by power companies, including TEPCO, and others, which concluded in 2006, 2 years after the Indian Ocean tsunami, that Fukushima Daiichi’s backup generators could fail if a 14-meter tsunami hit the plant. The meeting was held as part of an unofficial seminar that the safety agency initiated in January 2006 in the wake of the December 2004 massive earthquake and tsunami off Sumatra, Indonesia, as well as a major leak of water at a U.S. nuclear plant. At the meeting, power failure risks were discussed on the assumption of nuclear plants being hit by tsunami waves one meter higher than ground level. The panel, which included the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and other power utilities, “hinted at the possibility of seawater entering buildings through doors and other openings.” Following the assessment, TEPCO waterproofed seawater pumps used to cool reactors as suggested by the agency, but failed to act on any upgrades to prevent water from entering buildings. “The result might have been different,” if the company, known as TEPCO, had taken adequate measures against the risk, said an official at the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. Source: JiJi Press "TEPCO said a public-private study panel that was attended by power companies, including TEPCO, and others, which concluded in 2006, 2 years after the Indian Ocean tsunami, that Fukushima Daiichi’s backup generators could fail if a 14-meter tsunami hit the plant. The meeting was held as part of an unofficial seminar that the safety agency initiated in January 2006 in the wake of the December 2004 massive earthquake and tsunami off Sumatra, Indonesia, as well as a major leak of water at a U.S. nuclear plant. So this was in 2006 (2 years before the study they did in 2008!) after the 2004 massive tsunami off Sumatra and Indonesia! But time will tell, the story is far from finished for the executives i think. Lobbies are at work, so are the victims... Tsunami is a quick wave, justice is a slow growing wave... P: 468 I add this to the previous message... To summarize: 1) Tepco declared in 2012 that in 2006 a symposium concluded that Fukushima Daiichi’s backup generators could fail if a 14-meter tsunami hit the plant. 2) then Tepco projected in 2008 a scenario of a huge tsunami of more than 15 meters (which then would badly hit the plant and make a blackout with generators damaged). But they didn't consider countermeasures and this "cannot be considered socially irresponsible behavior." 3) but in 2010, a Tepco presentation reassessed the max height of a tsunami to 5.7m! I've posted a message about this document the 23rd of March 2011 on this forum: http://www.physicsforums.com/showpos...&postcount=883  I would like to draw your attention to a TEPCO document that i found today in which this company reassessed in 2010 the "safety" of its plants regarding to tsunamis, especially after the Chile tsunami the 28th of February 2010. I give the direct link to where to find this document (I plan to send this info to several medias here in France): http://www.jnes.go.jp/seismic-sympos...sionB/B-11.pdf It is a presentation of a Tepco study (see logos on the doc) done in 2010, and its conclusions were presented by a certain Andou Hiroshige at a symposium held the 24th to 26th of November 2010 - SO PRETTY RECENTLY- at Niigata Institute of Technology, Kashiwazaki, Niigata, Japan ( see the site here http://www.jnes.go.jp/seismic-symposium10/ ). The document is called Tsunami Assessment for Nuclear Power Plants in Japan and include a study for the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Conclusions of the study are, based on this presentation (see page 15): "We assessed and confirmed the safety of nuclear power plants based on the JSCE method which was published in 2002". The simulation done relates to hypothesis ending up with a maximum tsunami wave height at Fukushima plant of... 5,7m" DOES THIS MAKES SENSE TO YOU? IS THERE ANY CONSISTENCY IN THE DECISIONS MADE BY TEPCO? P: 595  Quote by jlduh DOES THIS MAKES SENSE TO YOU? IS THERE ANY CONSISTENCY IN THE DECISIONS MADE BY TEPCO? Absolutely. Some TEPCO manager thought: "Why should I push for the construction of a bigger dam? That'll cost several$100M and spending so much on (apparently) unnecessary heap of concrete will definitely be bad for my career".
 P: 468 I agree that it's probably what happened! But then again, is this consistent with the conclusion: it "cannot be considered socially irresponsible behavior"? How can it be the wise decision of the prosecutors?
 P: 1,042 It was to be expected. It's also very, very unjust. There were clearly bad decisions made, those decisions clearly led to huge amounts of property damage and not a few indirect deaths (elderly&sick evacuees mostly).
P: 595
 Quote by jlduh I agree that it's probably what happened! But then again, is this consistent with the conclusion: it "cannot be considered socially irresponsible behavior"? How can it be the wise decision of the prosecutors?
I am more interested in "how we can fix the system so that it (such bad managerial decisions) doesn't happen in the future?"

Note that it is not so that all TEPCO managers are bad people. The problem is that "good" managers, which push for more expenses, have worse career prospects, IOW they don't reach higher levels on the corporate ladder. (This isn't uniquely TEPCO or Japanese problem, by the way).

Because of this dynamics, the problem can't be fixed by installing "better" managers.

Only competent independent oversight agency with power to force nuclear operators to implement safety measures can help here.
 P: 468 NHK World has removed its "Data On Fukushima plant" link from first page, saw it yet at the end of August... Probably a side effect of the Olympic games strategy? You have now to click "311 Beyond stories of recovery" (nice!) logo and then the link to the "data on Fukushima plant" appears on the right: http://www.nhk.or.jp/japan311/ But anyway, the page is no more updated since end of May 2013! http://www9.nhk.or.jp/kabun-blog/500/ Which is pretty normal in fact: japanese are no more concerned by the nuclear problem, and Japan seems to be today the safiest place in the world to be if you fear radiations, just look at this nice updated "Radiation Map" that is now above the "Data on Fukushima Plant" link! http://www.nhk.or.jp/japan311/311-nuclear.html Great numbers, all lower than in the rest of the international towns listed. Message is clear: don't worry anymore... I reference this here because my feeling is that the decommissioning of the information will be a more effective (and easy) task than the decommissioning of the real stuff... A step by step process.

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