Fukushima Was Not Prepared
For Tsunami - Tepco Report
Fukushima Nuclear Crisis
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TOKYO | Fri
Dec 2, 2011
(Reuters) - The tsunami that struck Fukushima nuclear plant
in March was far larger than what the facility was equipped
to handle, the operator of the plant said on Friday in its
first official assessment of the worst nuclear disaster in
In March the huge
tsunami unleashed by a 9.0-magnitude quake overcame the
walls protecting the Daiichi plant on the Pacific coast 240
kilometres (150 miles) north of Tokyo, knocked out its
cooling systems and triggered a nuclear meltdown.
"The size of the
tsunami we came up against was far beyond our expectations,"
Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) executive vice president Masao
Yamazaki told reporters as the operator presented an interim
assessment report detailing what happened at the plant and
steps taken to cope with the disaster.
its initial assessment, said the tsunami that hit Daiichi
exceeded 15 metres in some areas, overcoming the 10 metre
"As stated in the
assessment report, the precautionary measures we have been
preparing did not suffice and radiation was allowed to leak
out as a result. For causing this grave accident we
apologise deeply," Yamazaki said.
shareholders sued the utility in November, accusing it for
failing to heighten the plant's sea walls although in 2008
it simulated a tsunami exceeding 15 metres hitting the
plant, domestic media have reported.
committee that inspected Tepco's interim assessment said the
scale of the disasters in March was beyond what Tepco and
even the government had anticipated.
"It can be said
that earthquakes and tsunamis needed to have been given even
more serious thought and the government and experts in the
field also need thorough self examination," the committee
stated, adding that Tepco could have been complacent in
assuming that they had all sufficient safeguards in place.
week, Tepco offered its latest analysis of what could have
taken place in Daiichi's three damaged reactors, citing its
simulation that suggested fuel in one of them could have
melted through the pressure vessel that encased it.
That would be a
more grave scenario than previously thought, though Tepco
said the melted fuel was likely to have been contained by an
outer layer called the containment vessel made of concrete
by Tepco have since curbed the amount of radiation the
crippled plant is emitting and temperatures of reactors that
contained melted fuel have been brought well below boiling
point after Tepco installed new cooling systems.
Yoshihiko Noda may declare a cold shutdown on December 16 as
Tepco's assessment showed that temperatures for the nuclear
fuel lying at the bottom of the containment vessel have
stabilised, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Friday.
A cold shutdown
is one of the conditions that must be met before the
government considers lifting its entry ban within a 20 km
(12 miles) no-entry zone around the Daiichi that has about
80,000 residents to evacuate.
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