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Nuclear agency apologizes for late disclosure of Oi nuclear plant warning

66 Comments

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and Kansai Electric Power Company have apologized for delaying disclosure of the news that an automatic warning occurred at the No. 3 reactor at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture on Tuesday night.

An alarm bell activated at around 9:50 p.m. Tuesday, reporting that the water level in the reactor 3 cooling tank had fallen at least 5-10 centimeters, officials said. KEPCO said that more water has been put into the tank as a precautionary measure.

The alarm was the first sign of trouble since the government decided to restart the units 3 and 4 Saturday. Disclosure of Tuesday’s incident came at a news conference at 11 a.m. Wednesday -- about 13 hours after the warning occurred, Fuji TV reported.

Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency director Yasushi Morishita apologized at the news conference, saying his lapse in judgment caused the delay. He was quoted as saying that officials didn't think the alarm merited a news conference, Fuji reported.

The agency held a second news conference later Wednesday, at about 4 p.m., and offered its assurances that future disclosures would be made in a more timely manner, Fuji reported.

© Japan Today

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66 Comments
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Bring on the "I told you so" comments, lol

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Till when they will apologize ???

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Do these people have ANY idea of what they're dealing with and the responsibilities that come with running a facility like that? It seems not. Not even after all that has happened last year... Unbelievable!

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Nuclear agency apologizes for late disclosure of Oi nuclear plant warning

Still haven't learned anything, have you?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

What a great system where an apology acquits you of accountability!

7 ( +9 / -3 )

Bozos!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Obviously learned a lot from TEPCO, the government, and all the incompetence and delayed reactions and dissemination, eh? Yeah, all those 'more or less' safe comments and now this egg on their faces. And as to the "We promise to relay information in a more timely manner": a) there should need to BE any more informations about warning because we were all told the place was safe and therefore could be restarted with no problems, and (b) no one on this planet could POSSIBLY believe your promise given the delay that just happened AFTER all that's happened at Fukushima! Even before this news there was skepticism about the restart -- now a mere few days after the restart began we already have one nuclear warning.

Ahhh... Japan!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

What is this? A toilet tank or an pitcher of Kool-Aid? Just add more water. Yeah. But we don't know what's wrong...

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Nothing ever changes does it?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I do not understand what the point of reporting every single something which is immediately corrected and does not create a problem is?

The bell did what it had been put there to do: it rang to indicate that more water was necessary and the water was accordingly pumped in. If anything, it showed that the alarm system was up and working.

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

Okay, I WAS in favour of restarting, but this is one of those things that can change minds... they are withholding information about a potential hazard, and that's just getting the thing warmed up?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

So much for the reactor safety inspections and stress tests but failed to discover a problem even if it's just a minor one.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I do not understand what the point of reporting every single something which is immediately corrected and does not create a problem is? The bell did what it had been put there to do: it rang to indicate that more water was necessary and the water was accordingly pumped in. If anything, it showed that the alarm system was up and working.

Great we now know the alarm system is working cool... Um maybe we should ask why the water level dropped, why the alarm went off. And why this newly restarted plant has had a problem already. I guess you are happy running things until and alarm goes off. Can just imagine you driving your car until the engine warning light goes off then saying well thats great news the engine warning light works... LOL

1 ( +8 / -7 )

A. He's right. It doesn't merit a press conference. But it does merit informing your citizens. Especially after having had a big nuclear accident, months ago.

B. Future disclosures made in more timely manner. That'll be the day...

C. Wait, what... They already restarted the reactors???!!! So much for the will of the people, I guess. I am impressed how far and long these islanders can bend over and just take lie after lie after lie without doing anything about it.

D. He apologized. Probably with a correct and deep enough bow in front of the TV cameras. All is forgotten. All is good now. We will now return to normal programming...

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Wow! Barely a week has passed since they restarted and already signs of epic failure are emerging! So depressing to know that the nuclear industry in Japan can get away with anything with a simple apology.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The government sat on more information. Imagine that.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Sorry, I meant enraging, not depressing.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I'm assuming that what @JaneM means is that it's not worth alarming an already nervous Japanese public when there's no threat to public safety. This I agree with, but the fact that the Oi plant isn't working perfectly should surely be enough reason to pull the plug on it until test upon test shows that the systems, alarms and people are working well enough to keep the plant off the dinnertime news.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

WTF - They started the reactors despite the concerns of the Nation????

Now I know why people walk around bent over with their pants around their ankles. It just makes it easier for the government to do what it does best...

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Well, it looks like they can't run be responsible. They should just shut it down until someone competent is found.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Can you imagine KEPCO's panic discussions with all concerned (probably including the PM) "What are we going to do about this news?" "Should we say anything?" "Can we get away with saying nothing or could that course come back to bite us?" "How are we going to let the news out and still keep the plant working?" etc., etc. All we know is that it took them about 12 hours to reach a decision! Old (arrogant) habits die hard.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Was it Heda_madness who got all upset at me the other day when I said another accident WILL occur and that no one has learned from the many disasters already? Granted, this, at least what they ARE telling us (after the fact) is not that major (so far), the thing is just getting warmed up and already there's a nuclear alarm. Are we STILL going to wait until a major city needs to be evacuated?

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

and if it WASN'T Heda, then my bad. But there were a few people who thumbed me down for it for saying there would be more accidents. Well, I hope the "I told you so" doesn't grow any bigger.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

I was the one who said I was waiting for the 'I told you so banners', but after this report my faith in the plant operators has taken a huge knock.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

For all those who are less than informed, this is a very minor issue.

As this is a PWR, they are talking about either the reserve water or, most likely, the secondary coolant water. Unfortunately, JapanToday did not release the proper information and no English language information on the incident is available.

In the case of reserve water, it is quite possible to have the levels drop as pressurization begins, especially if there were bubbles. The reserve tanks are generally quite small in diameter compared to height, so a few cm is actually not that much water.

In the case of secondary coolant, it is actually not necessary for the shutdown of most PWR designs. Additionally, this water is in a secondary cycle that is not in contact with any radioactive substance at any time. While it is expected to be a closed cycle, that may not be true at low temperatures, especially if they were testing the steam lines. Rather than boiling in the normal sense, it can be lost as excess humidity.

In most countries, this is not considered a report worthy event, not unless factors like reactor pressure decrease or coolant temperature increase are associated with it.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Hmmmm. And Japan wants to be taken seriously and not laughed at? Typically lying to the baajin, who sit patiently and accept the "we are sorry pantomime" that seems to happen every month in most industries.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I think this might also indicate that KEPCO had already started the No3 reactor some weeks ago and were just waiting for the political nod from Noda?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Instils so much confidence in your local nuclear facility doesn't it? What a fracking joke.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The cooling tank is part of the system on the non nuclear turbine side. Diagram here, http://ex-skf.blogspot.jp/2012/06/ooi-nuke-plant-kepco-waited-10-hours.html

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Baibaikin, Thank you for taking the trouble to interpret my post. Your assumption is correct.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Thunderbird2: "I was the one who said I was waiting for the 'I told you so banners', but after this report my faith in the plant operators has taken a huge knock."

That's right! But later Heda or someone else joined in and got pretty adamant about it, to. Maybe I'll bother to check it out later. Anyway, I suppose a reason about of skeptism in most things isn't necessarily bad, and maybe that knock for you is good, but when it comes to nuclear power and the dangers it poses, and the fact that SO many people (I'd say most) were against the restarts after so many bungles at Fukushima, there should be NO room for anything like this. They need to be told to finish the restart and shut them down again -- at LEAST until all the new nuclear agency has been formed and settled, and until the companies meet newer, stricter guidelines and that can be verified -- and I don't mean Edano the "nothing's harmful" clown coming in and saying "more or less", either. I mean, seriously -- a sea wall that's going to be built to protect against a major tsunami won't be done for three years and they're saying the start-up is safe based on such measures?? This kind of thinking would NEVER fly with anything else -- except maybe in government where they seem to go by panels that haven't been formed yet, or pass laws with legislation to come later.

And I'm tired of being given promises of "transparency from now on" when there are nothing but lies!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

zichiJun. 21, 2012 - 07:18PM JST

The cooling tank is part of the system on the non nuclear turbine side. Diagram here, http://ex-skf.blogspot.jp/2012/06/ooi-nuke-plant-kepco-waited-10-hours.html

Thanks for the link, it clears up a lot of things. Especially the fact that this was even less of an issue than I assumed. 0.02cc/s leak is actually near nothing , and the fact it was actually for the turbine cooling system is even less of an issue. This had nothing to do with the nuclear reactor, so there was no reason for KEPCO to ever report it. In fact, this is an issue with ANY thermal powerplant, including oil, gas, and coal plants. This coolant is only needed WHEN PROVIDING POWER, and therefore was at no risk of anything at any time. Likely the turbine cooling system was cleaned while the plant was offline, and proper torque was not applied when resealing it.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Thanks to information provided by zichi, we know it has nothing to do with the nuclear reactor.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

KRAPCO

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

Thanks to information provided by zichi, we know it has nothing to do with the nuclear reactor.

So why the dramatic press release? If it was nothing worth reporting then why report it? The general public would never have known, never been alarmed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Typical Japanese government response. It has to blow up in your face before the Tokyo acknowledges any problem.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I believe that the official announcement was that, "the reactor situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan should very obviously restart their reactors to fulfill their electrical needs: Those who oppose it are anti-nuclear-power, and are commenting against it in the wrong place, at the wrong time, very disrespectfully.

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

Thunderbird 2Jun. 21, 2012 - 08:20PM JST

"Thanks to information provided by zichi, we know it has nothing to do with the nuclear reactor."

So why the dramatic press release? If it was nothing worth reporting then why report it? The general public would never have known, never been alarmed.

Because the clueless media reported it as a wrongdoing?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I'm neither strongly pro- or anti-nuclear power, but in the wake of a nuclear power plant disaster and cover ups galore, you'd think these idiots would see the merit in being as transparent as possible. It might not have merited a press conference, but a simple press release to the news agencies or a statement on their website would have been a simple thing to do. Instead, we just can't escape the feeling that something was being covered up. I'm sick of these jokers and their apologies and excuses for a lack of judgement. NISA is a pathetic laughing stock. If you are lacking in judgement then just p*ss off and let someone competent do the job.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

let the (self defense force) military run the power plants or bring in foreign workers.

PROBLEM SOLVED

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The majority of the SDF are not nuclear engineers or techicians and there are not enough of them to run the atomic power plants.

Problem not solved.

One answer is that one inspector from the new atomic safety agency is always stationed at a NPP.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

This follows the usual pattern of irresponsibility. Nuclear power generation is dangerous. In the hands of the Japanese nuclear power mafia it is twice as dangerous.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

It's a no win situation. Just imagine KEPCO holding a news conference at let's say 11 pm. The press will be all over the fact that the units are "unsafe" as they try to make the morning edition deadline when in fact, the incidents amounts to nothing more than an occurance experienced in any electrical plant with a turbine. I wouldn't be surprised if KEPCO weighed the pros and cons of reporting early or later and decided on the latter.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Got to agree with JaneM on this one. Do the press REALLY want to be called in for a press conference every time a warning light or bell goes off?

"Thank you for coming on such short notice. Approximately 18 minutes ago, an alarm bell went off indicating that the water level in the reactor 3 cooling tank had dropped 5 centimeters."

"EXCUSE ME! What are you doing to correct this fatal flaw in the reactor and what does that mean for the residents in the area?!"

"Well first of all, there are a number of reasons for the lowering of the water level that have nothing to do with flaws, and second of all, the public isn't in any danger. We turned a spigot and added the water back in so the levelis back to where it should be."

"But WHY did the water level fall?!"

"Dude, this happened 18 minutes ago, we're looking into it."

"He's not telling us everything!!! He's stonewalling us!!!"

"(sigh)"

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@ Fadamor

YES,.

We want to know EVERY time there is an alarm bell.

This industry couldn't run for a week without an alarm. Great call Mr Noda.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Where is the water gone?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

When they bow so low it makes it harder to put a rope around their necks.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Some of the commenters need to learn the difference between "headline worthy" news and "newsworthy" news. This is an example of the former.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The No3 reactor is still in shut down state.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The No3 reactor is still in shut down state.

Can you please elaborate?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The issue here is not the size or importance of the water level drop and consequent alarm bell .

You know what it is.

The issue is that they dithered over it for 13 hours before releasing the news and bowing sweatily and apologetically.

How many times will this cycle of events be repeated? Will they do this again when there is a bigger cause for alarm? On the face of it, yes, they probably will, at each and every nuclear facility in Japan.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

It appears that the level of water dropped when the water in the tank was transferred to the pump. The tank went up to the normal level after 4 minutes.

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20120620-00000125-san-soci

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Before starting the reactor KEPCO needs to clean all the steam pipes and the turbine to remove all impurities. That will probablt take several days. The same process will then repeated with No4 reactor. KEPCO only has one machine for doing this work. The No3 will be online by mid July, and the No4 by the end ofJuly

5 ( +5 / -0 )

To add to the previous post, it means that not only the pumps are functional, the alarm is working as well. So in essence, the alarm sounded because the system was working. So yes. I don't see the necessity in reporting this in the evening when media are hungry to search for an angle.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Before starting the reactor KEPCO needs to clean all the steam pipes and the turbine to remove all impurities. That will probablt take several days. The same process will then repeated with No4 reactor. KEPCO only has one machine for doing this work. The No3 will be online by mid July, and the No4 by the end ofJuly

Who are you addressing this to? If the posters on this site really cared to what is going on in the Oi plant, they should at least have the knowledge of the time table. If you are addressing to those without a clue thinking that Oi Plant is in fact operating, then.....

I think this might also indicate that KEPCO had already started the No3 reactor some weeks ago and were just waiting for the political nod from Noda?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

nigelboy,

there is some conflict of info from KEPCO over the state of the reactors. From their statements, they could have already started the work to start the reactors a couple of weeks ago, or they didn't but changed the info about when No3 and No4 reactors would reach full power. Whatever, but KEPCO haven't been 100% transparent with their info. Like, once they were given permission to start the Oi plant, KEPCO discovered it had a further 2GW from overnight pumped stations, something it hadn't mentioned before.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

there is some conflict of info from KEPCO over the state of the reactors. From their statements, they could have already started the work to start the reactors a couple of weeks ago,

I believe the official green light came about from the PM on June 15. If KEPCO started work beforehand, it would have been a public nightmare jeopardizing the restart of any of their reactors in the future.

or they didn't but changed the info about when No3 and No4 reactors would reach full power.

http://www.kepco.co.jp/pressre/2012/0616-1j.html

?? The announcement on June 16 states that the estimated time No.3 will go on line is early July with full capacity operations a few days later. It also states that for No.4, they will go on line around mid to late July with full capacity following a few days later.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20120621/k10013014171000.html

The latest NHK article indicates that according to KEPCO, the No. 3 could be on line as early as July 1st and full capacity at July 8th. As for No. 4, it could be on line as early as July 17th and fully capacity on July 24th.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I applaud KEPCO for letting the public know what's going on at the Oi power plant. Keeping the public informed is the right thing to do. I wish the NPP in the US would do the same.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The issue is that they dithered over it for 13 hours before releasing the news and bowing sweatily and apologetically.

Threat to the public regarding this alarm: 0.00000% I'll give them half a day to figure out if this is going to continue or if it was just pipes filling with water after they've been empty for a while. If the water had continued to drop after re-filling, then there would be more concern on my part. I have to agree with Zichi, I doubt the reactor is active at all yet. They've only been working on it since the weekend.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

NISA, said Thursday it will deploy inspectors to an off-site facility near the Oi nuclear plant around the clock to supplement monitoring of the reactivation of two reactors by the central control room. 

NISA officials said neither the nuclear watchdog nor KEPCO plans to immediately inform the media about any unexpected troubles, regardless of its safety implications and environmental effects.

So are we to guess from that, if there was serious nuclear event at the plant it won't immediately inform the public. That's got a familiar ring to it? 

4 ( +4 / -0 )

nigelboy,

I think the PM gave his permssion on the 17th, just before leaving for the G20 summit. Originally, KEPCO stated it would take 6-8 weeks to start the reactors and reach full power, and because of that it needed to start the reactors in time to cope with the summer peak demand.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I think the PM gave his permssion on the 17th, just before leaving for the G20 summit.

16th. http://jp.reuters.com/article/topNews/idJPTYE85F00Q20120616

http://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/noda/actions/201206/16genpatsu.html

Originally, KEPCO stated it would take 6-8 weeks to start the reactors and reach full power, and because of that it needed to start the reactors in time to cope with the summer peak demand.

And????

http://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/localnews/npp_restart/34844.html

On May 24th, it states 6 weeks for full power.

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/politics/news/120616/plc12061612260010-n1.htm

On June 16, it states approximately 6 weeks for full power with the earliest being July 24th. (Same as the NHK article yesterday)

NISA officials said neither the nuclear watchdog nor KEPCO plans to immediately inform the media about any unexpected troubles, regardless of its safety implications and environmental effects.

Overzealous Kyodo News translator, perhaps?

作業の工程上予期されていない警報等の事象が発生した場合には、安全への影響の有無に関わらず、速やかに当該事象について公表する

It states that NISA will inform the public swiftly as to unexpected troubles/occurances regardless of the safety implications.

http://www.meti.go.jp/press/2012/06/20120621001/20120621001-2.pdf

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I doubt whether the so called Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency even have an idea of what is happening at the plant.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The radiation in the Chernobyl reactor hall is still so hot it would quickly kill a person, after 25 years.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Rick KisaJun. 22, 2012 - 04:24AM JST:

I doubt whether the so called Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency even have an idea of what is happening at the plant.

This had absolutely nothing to do with the reactor nor safety, so NISA shouldn't even be involved except for the fact it is a nuclear power plant. The issue was a stator coil cooling water leak, which is ONLY found outside the reactor and in most cases, in an entirely different building. In the case of Oi, they have one turbine per reactor rather than pooled feed turbines, which generate electricity from the steam heated through a heat exchanger that is connected to the reactor.

NISA specifically stated that they knew of the issue and the fact it is pretty much an non-issue.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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