60% of local gov'ts do not have 72 hours of emergency power supplies


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72 hours may not be necessary, but I would imagine that it is essential to support some core-level of post-disaster operations. For individuals, the message has to be go to your shelter and follow the specific procedures identified for your community, all of which should be known in advance without waiting to phone the town hall after the disaster, but there will still be stuff that only a high level of administration can handle, liasing with the national government as the obvious one. On a local level, if every traffic light in a city is going down, the town hall is going to have to step in and organize something or transport will be paralyzed and people will die.

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That is a disgrace!

A 280kW genset and 5000L of fuel would be enough to keep the lights and essential services up and running for 72Hrs+ on all but the largest buildings if you managed the load properly. This would take up the space of two car parks, so size is not an issue.

It takes all of 5 minutes to fail and a run for 60 minutes once a month to check things are running.

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Inspector G - agree totally.

The reasons for not establishing emergency backup systems can only be due to negligence on behalf of those with authority.

In a disaster prone country like Japan prioritizing emergency services should be the normm, not the exception.

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*A 280kW genset and 5000L of fuel would be enough to keep the lights and essential services up and running for 72Hrs+ on all but the largest buildings if you managed the load properly. This would take up the space of two car parks, so size is not an issue. It takes all of 5 minutes to fail and a run for 60 minutes once a month to check things are running.*

Being a former electrical engineer and responsible for maintaining power supplies the suggestion of a generator in a car park isn't that simple especially in a major disaster.

Earthquakes, typhoons, flooding, could all easily damage that generator. The emergency generator should be located within the building most likely in the plant room or even better located on the roof of the buildings. The tank for the fuel can be buried underground.

From a car park an electrician would have to connect the supply cable to the main power switch panel. Not so easy to do if trying to do it in the middle of a disaster.

Otherwise a purpose build watertight building. All of the building plant rooms should be watertight and all major switchgear watertight. They are too often not.

The emergency generator kicks in automatically when there's a power outage and off again when the power is resumed.

All government buildings, public hospitals and evacuation centers need backup power supplies.

All of these buildings should also have solar panels or other forms of energy like the Eco units converting gas to hot water and electric.

All important computer systems need battery backup providing several hours of power.

Systems of communications like landline phone, fax, shortwave radio can all be needed in a major disaster.

If the Fukushima nuclear plant had had the correctly installed safety equipment, the nuclear disaster would have been avoided.

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Thanks for the comments. Likewise, I am also responsible for maintaining the backup unit for a large business for similar reasons.

Yes. any unit installed would need to be pre-wired for auto fail-over, and the size comment (2 car parks) was to illustrate that the excuse of lack of space was a poor one. In an ideal world the units would be housed internally, with base isolation etc, but with the limited information in the article it looks like generation capabilities may have been made a requirement after these buildings were erected, or as a result of recent events.

In this scenario, a self contained mobile genset with sufficient fuel on an appropriate base with the necessary wiring should be sufficient to immediately meet the requirements without large and time consuming modifications to buildings. Those can occur later, possibly re-utilising the same units.

Solar etc should be considered a power source to augment traditional generation capabilities in the event of a disaster . . . . if they are available. IE, get the generator up and running with sufficient fuel for 72 hours, and anything you can generate from solar is an enabler for extra services, or time extender. Night, or a volcanic eruption (ash on the PV panels) will severely diminish generation capabilities. Then again ash will kill a generator without some kind of extra filtering.

What is interesting in this field is the interest that vehicle manufacturers are taking in using EV batteries to power homes under some circumstances. IE Store cheap power available over night (in some countries) in the vehicle battery, and use it during the day when power is more expensive. At some stage this may also be part of the mix of resources on tap when disaster strikes.

Sensitive equipment (eg server room, coms and life sustaining etc) needs to be behind a suitably sized and spec'd UPS with voltage stabilization etc. Likewise this essential kit needs to be secured (computer racks bolted down, units secured etc) in a suitable room for this to continue to function after a disaster strikes.

I appreciate your input.

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I don't know about power reserves but walking into our local city office is like walking into the 1970s.

Hopefully it's forgone licks of paint, grouting, replacement flooring, new desks and chairs, insulation, western style toilets etc in favour of bolstering the power reserves.

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All of the nuclear power plant owners have placed several emergency generator vehicles within the plants. Fukushima lost all of site power and also its emergency generators. Causing the nuclear meltdowns.

Vehicle generators would be a solution. They can be kept at a depot and then deployed to a location where required.

In a disaster like the 2011 Tohoku there isn't much anyone can do. Nature outflanked humanity.

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