Fukushima Nuclear Plant Is 1 Engineering Essay

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This research was aimed to investigate the industrial case problem, Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, which happened in 11 March 2011. Japan was struck with magnitude-9 earthquake followed by a 14-meter tsunami and a series of nuclear disaster. Fukushima nuclear disaster is natural or man-made was identified. The industrial process and operation of the Fukushima nuclear plant had been observed and recorded. The affection of the Fukushima nuclear disaster to the society, ecology, sociology and health and the action which taken by TEPCO, government and the regulatory body also had been recorded in this report. At last, there are some effective preventive actions to be strengthened by TEPCO in re-examine the nuclear plant safety.

2. Introduction

Fukushima nuclear plant is 1 of the 25 largest nuclear power stations in the world which designed by General Electric and maintained by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). There are 6 reactors in Fukushima, Japan. In 11 March 2011, Japan was attacked by earthquake and followed by a tsunami. Because of it, the Fukushima nuclear plants had been destroyed and it has caused radiation to the residents of Japan. TEPCO and General Electric of Japan has been suspected with their carelessness of controlling, working and maintaining for the nuclear plants during that time. Besides that, the reaction and the action that they had take to solve the problems were useless. All of this had clearly proven that the Fukushima Nuclear Plant disaster was a man-made and it is not caused by the earthquake and tsunami only.

3. Headed Sections

3.1 Fukushima nuclear disaster is man-made.

As the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission's chairman, Tokyo University professor emeritus Kiyoshi Kurokawa, wrote in the report, 'the Fukushima nuclear disaster accident cannot be regarded as a natural disaster because it should have been prevented by human' [8].

Based on a report from an independent parliamentary investigation also said that the accident factors are because of failed to provide prevention and government who lack giving commitment to protect the public [9].

Besides that, because of the General Electric and TEPCO doesn't have a good quake-resistant, the nuclear plants was damaged and cause radiation. This show that the Fukushima nuclear disaster is actually can be avoided and it shouldn't happen as it have a good prevention for earthquake [7].

In addition, Fukushima nuclear disaster is man-made because TEPCO's internal reform taskforce , led by the firm's president, Naomi Hirose had said that, "when looking back on the accident, the problem was that preparations were not made in advance." [6]

There is also a lot of shocking news of the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster, which is TEPCO putting cost-cutting step of nuclear power plants' safety as nuclear power became less profitable over the years. The team said that "while giving lip service to a policy of 'safety first', in actuality, safety suffered at the expense of other management prioties." [11]

Instead, from the report by the commission, the prime minister's office and TEPCO are blaming both sides for the nuclear plants disaster. "The workers who were dealing with nuclear plants disaster was given direct command from the prime minister" the report said, and this action will diverted the attention and time of operational staff and cause them to confuse with the line of command. Besides that, the report also faulted Mr. Shimizu for an unclearly report to the prime minister's office which can deepened the government's misunderstanding and mistrust of TEPCO's response.

The failure of carry out basic safety measures besides being aware of the risks by earthquakes, tsunamis and other events which might make the power systems shutdown is the cause of the commission accused the government. Although the government-appointed Nuclear Safety Commission revised earthquake resistance standards in 2006 and ordered nuclear operators around the country to inspect their reactors, but TEPCO didn't carry out any checks and the regulators didn't follow up, said by the report. The report also blamed the responses of the company, the government and regulators and said that they had betrayed the Japan nation's right of safety form the nuclear plants disaster. [12]

3.2 Industrial Process and Operation of the Fukushima Nuclear Plant

The nuclear plants start functioning from 1970 until 1979. At the end of 2002 to 2005, the six reactors were shut down for safety checks due to TEPCO data falsification scandal. TEPCO submitted a report to the Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency on Feb 28, 2011 to admit the company had submitted fake inspection and repair reports previously. In the report, TEPCO admitted that they failed to inspect more than 30 technical components of the six reactors including power boards for the reactor's temperature control such as water pump motors and emergency power diesel generators of cooling systems. By 2008, Japan was warned by IAEA that the Fukushima was built by outdated safety guidelines and could be in danger during a large earthquake. TEPCO was canceling plans to build Reactors No 7 and 8 on 4 April2011. After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, TEPCO let the reactors being in cooling shutdown situation for six to nine months, recover the cooling function of reactors and spent fuel pools in three months and adding new special covers on reactor 1, 3 and 4 from June [10].

3.3 Evaluate the impact of the Fukushima nuclear disaster to the society, ecology, sociology and health.

In the accident, the radiation form Fukushima disaster may cause 15 to 1300 deaths and 24 to 2500 cases of cancer in Japan, which calculated by Stanford researchers [4].In solid waste of nuclear plants, the spent nuclear fuel is the main waste stream from it. It is primarily composed of unconverted uranium such as transuranic actinides which is plutonium and curium mostly. 3% of it is fission products from nuclear reactions, and the uranium, plutonium and curium will cause long-term radioactivity while the fission products will cause the short-term radioactivity. Besides that, in mid of March, major releases of radionuclides including long-lived cesium was occurred to air and the release of apparent hydrogen explosion in the suppression chamber of unit 2 was the main source of radioactive. The radioactive materials were released from the Fukushima Nuclear Plant will bring biological influences on living organisms which could ultimately produce long-term destruction of ecosystems and cause chronic diseases. It also will cause the incidence of thyroid and lymph cancers in humans [5]. In economics view, costs of accident Fukushima Nuclear Plants are going up for currently operating and new nuclear power plants [1]. In addition, because of radiation, the number of traveler to visit Japan will drop and the economics of Japan also will be affected. In the other hand, the resident of Japan may hesitate the proficiency of government because the government and TEPCO didn't operating the nuclear plant well for example the emergency shutdown diesel generators which used to cool down the reactors was flooded when the tsunami happened [3].

3.4 Outline the actions taken by Tokyo Electric Power Company ( TEPCO), government and the regulatory body during the occurrence of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

On 11 March 2011, government of Japan asked people within 20 km around the Fukushima nuclear plants must leave and who living between 20 km to 30 km have to stay indoors. Prime Minister Naoto Kan also ordered the aging Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant be closed and he said he would freeze plans to build new reactors. In July of the year, Mr. Kan mentioned that Japan should reduce and eliminate its dependence on nuclear energy because the Fukushima accident had demonstrated us the dangers of the technology. According to the Japanese newspaper, the Japan government was planning to buy some properties to store radioactive waste and materials after the accidents.

Beside the action taken by Japan, other countries have advised their nationals who stay in Tokyo to leave there, citing the risk associated with the nuclear plants accident. Some international experts have said that it take hundreds or thousands years or decades to clean up the radiation area. By the same time, stock prices of nuclear sources have dropped. A study of UBS which reported on 12 April 2011 suggests that around 30 nuclear plants may be closed after the accident of Fukushima, while the number of anti-nuclear sentiment increased in India, Italy, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United States [2].

The Japanese government released a roadmap for the cleanup activities which predicted that the full cleanup will take 40 years on 21 December 2011. On 10 April 2011, TEPCO began using remote-controlled to remove debris around nuclear reactors 1 to 4 and announced that the automated cooling systems will restore in three months and the reactors in shutdown status for six months. TEPCO also planned to empty the basements of the turbine and reactors of units 1 to 3 of contaminated water. In the monsoon season, a light fabric cover was used to protect the reactors from storms and heavy rainfall. On 16 August, TEPCO announced the installation of devices in the spent fuel pools of reactor 2, 3 and 4. In October 2011, Japanese Prime Minister said the government will spend at least 1 trillion yen to clean up vast areas which facing radiation problem from the Fukushima nuclear plants.

3.5 Propose effective preventive action to be strengthen by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) in re-examine the nuclear plant safety

TEPCO should make sure that the emergency shutdown diesel generators which used to cool down the reactors are always able to function well no matter it is attack by earthquake, flood, tsunami or other natural disaster. TEPCO also should ready an earthquake test machine and always alerts of the natural disaster, so they can take action immediately and prevent the nuclear plants attack by natural disaster again. In addition, TEPCO should make sure that they have enough human resources and good quake-resistant which use to run the nuclear plants well before they build other new nuclear plants.

4. Conclusion

As a conclusion, Fukushima Nuclear Plants Disaster was a man-made incident which happened because lack of prevention from TEPCO for tsunami and earthquake attack. TEPCO also should prepare well before start the nuclear plant starts functioning such as ready an emergency shutdown to prevent the incident of nuclear plant disaster. Besides that, the Fukushima Nuclear Plants Disaster happened because of the irresponsible government which doesn't care of Japan nation's right of safety from the nuclear plant disaster. It also shows us that planting nuclear plants is a dangerous and unsafe action which may cause serious radiation to nation. If government has to plant the nuclear plants, they also must have a proper way of operating the nuclear plant which includes the good prevention for natural disaster.