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Hamaoka nuclear plant to get higher seawall

10 Comments

Chubu Electric Power Co said Thursday that it will increase the height of a seawall currently being built around its Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture from 16 meters to 22 meters.

Chubu Electric is constructing a 1.6-kilometer-long seawall around the plant which is scheduled to be completed in December 2013.

The Hamaoka plant, which is said to be above a major faultline, is just 100 meters away from the Pacific Ocean and sits in the Tokai region, southwest of Tokyo, where seismologists have long warned that a major quake is overdue because two major continental plates meet here.

Chubu Electric said it is also working on other measures to prevent flooding inside the plant, and programs to safeguard cooling systems that bring reactors to safe shutdown in case of severe accidents.

However, the future of the Hamaoka plant is still up in the air. In October, a citizens' group in Shizuoka Prefecture collected enough signatures to call for a referendum on the restart of the plant. The group, calling itself Genpatsu Kenmin Tohyo Shizuoka (A vote on nuclear power by Shizuoka people), collected 165,127 signatures. A decision on the referendum is yet to be made by the government.

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10 Comments
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In the event of a huge quake, the sea wall will most likely collapse, and the customer base will not be using power for a while. Wouldn't it make more long-term business sense not to have a plant at the center of a predicted large quake zone?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They may want to check for active fault lines underneath the plan first, before they go through the trouble of building that wall...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Rolf Wietlisbach-KobayashiDec. 21, 2012 - 09:29AM JST

They may want to check for active fault lines underneath the plan first, before they go through the trouble of building that wall..

They have, and there's nothing in that area on land within 10km.

The sea wall isn't meant for the nearby fault line, that thing is only capable of M7 level quake with waves at most 10-14M. The sea wall is meant for the fault line over 300km away that can go off with M9 strength and make waves around 18M. Though if that fault ever goes off at M9 strength, you'll have hundreds of thousands of casualties since it's fairly close to populated areas.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

The Hamaoka plant is well within the predicted area for a Tokai quake,

Having a nuclear power plant in that area is just plain ridiculous.

If they restart it after what happened in Fukushima, I really will just have to give up on Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

basroil, you do not agree with Wiki on this: "Hamaoka is built directly over the subduction zone near the junction of two tectonic plates, and a major Tokai earthquake is said to be overdue.[7] The possibility of such a shallow magnitude 8.0 earthquake in the Tokai region was pointed out by Kiyoo Mogi in 1969, 7 months before permission to construct the Hamaoka plant was sought, and by the Coordinating Committee for Earthquake Prediction (CCEP) in 1970, prior to the permission being granted on December 10, 1970.[8] As a consequence, Professor Katsuhiko Ishibashi, a former member of a government panel on nuclear reactor safety, claimed in 2004 that Hamaoka was 'considered to be the most dangerous nuclear power plant in Japan'[7]"

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Given that Hamaoka plant is above a major faultline One would think they would consider decommission the plant instead of doing patchwork solution.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

nandakandamandaDec. 21, 2012 - 12:26PM JST

do not agree with Wiki on this: "Hamaoka is built directly over the subduction zone near the junction of two tectonic plates, and a major Tokai earthquake is said to be overdue

You simply misundertand the legal and engineering differences between building ON a fault and building NEAR a fault.

http://riodb02.ibase.aist.go.jp/activefault/cgi-bin/search_e.cgi?search_no=e002&versioin_no=1&search_mode=0

You can see there are no known faults anywhere near the plant, even if there are some within a few dozen kilometers. Since it's not on a fault, some of the anti-vibration countermeasures can work quite well (they don't work well when directly above the source), and the main issue is just wave height rather than shaking (as was the case in Fukushima)

As for the quake being "overdue", there are five sections that normally cause M8.4+ quakes, and they go off in pairs. Last time that happened was in 1940-50s, so the next quake expected in the M8.4 size would be 2100-2150 or so (they are fairly regular, with 150 or 200 years between them). The faults actually "overdue" are much less likely to have strong shaking, and less water height as well (some are on land so no tsunami risk).

The only possible issue is from a once in a few dozen lifetimes event like the triple interlocked M9 prediction (http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/analysis/AJ201208300060), but if that were to happen, a tiny risk in cancer would be absolutely nothing next to the quarter million dead and over half million injuries (in addition to the very high chance the number of deaths doubles or triples due to infrastructure issues leading to panic, famine, and illness).

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I'm sure policy makers would enjoy having a nuclear melt through to worry about in addition to all the other damage that the now conceivable earthquakes (and we remember that the thrice per century tsunami of 2011 was inconceivable according to the nuclear power industry, Japan's bureaucracy, Japan's mainstream academic community, and Japan's elected officials) will cause. At Fukushima, the earthquake damaged cooling systems before the tsunami even hit. We can either continue to wish for good luck, or we can face reality.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

warnerbroDec. 21, 2012 - 11:38PM JST

At Fukushima, the earthquake damaged cooling systems before the tsunami even hit.

Not at all if you read independent reports. In fact, Fukushima was cooling too quickly, which made operators turn off the pumps and close the main valves, to protect the fuel rods, just minutes before the tsunami came in. After that some of them couldn't be opened again, due to a lack of power. Hamaoka, especially the newer reactors there, don't have the same issue since the backup power is elevated in the building, not in the basement, and the ABWR unit 5 has passive safety systems so that there's significant cooling even in the event of power loss.

we remember that the thrice per century tsunami of 2011 was inconceivable

That was actually a once a millennium quake, you can check the last one in the sequence at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/869_Jogan_Sanriku_earthquake

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The Hamaoka Nuclear Power plant is built directly over the subduction zone near the junction of two tectonic plates, and a major Tokai earthquake is said to be overdue. This is the position of most Japanese government agencies, including the NRA and its predecessor NISA. If you are going to suggest that Hamaoka is a safe place for a nuclear plant, then you do so without evidence or argument, and you do so at the peril of Japanese residents.

I understand that the nuclear industry is flitting with bankruptcy, but at the same time it has become the moral duty of regular citizens to stand up to the nuclear lobby and say -- No, we are tired of your short-term thinking. We will uphold safety standards for the well-being of our people, and our grandchildren will respect our decisions.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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