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Onagawa nuclear plant remarkably undamaged: IAEA

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Onagawa “experienced very high levels of ground shaking—among the strongest of any plant affected by the earthquake—and some flooding from the tsunami that followed, but was able to shut down safely,” the Vienna-based IAEA said.

Well, except for reactor 1, it is a pretty new plant, and it had finished all the suggested improvements that Fukushima didn't. No backup power in the basement, higher up, etc.

0 ( +7 / -6 )

zichiAug. 11, 2012 - 11:03AM JST

Two hundred people who lost their homes to the tsunami took refuge in the plant.

Considering that Onagawa is one of the best built and maintained plants, probably a very smart move. Too bad the plant is fairly small in capacity, but that is also one of the reasons it's much safer.

0 ( +8 / -7 )

We hope the only aim for IAEA to tour nuke plants is the their safety database thing, not to recommend restart of the toured plants. Japan has surprisingly gone through the dreaded unusually hot summer period without hitch and without even reaching capacity. Japan therefore does not need more nuke electricity. IAEA should seize this opportunity to boost its image, calm people's anxiety by safely closing the plants. IAEA should not be worried of loosing their jobs when nuclear energy becomes absolete......theres lot of work to be done to close down hundreds or thousands of nuclear plants litered around the world, calculated to go on for thousands of years..........

0 ( +5 / -5 )

LOL @ IAEA. They're pro-nuclear promoters, not regulators. Remember how they kept saying Fukushima was "fine" and "under control" even though it was going through a melt down?

-1 ( +6 / -9 )

zichiAug. 11, 2012 - 02:08PM JST

Since the nuclear disaster, it's clearly understood that the IAEA works on the side of International Big Nuke, and will do whatever it takes to protect it.

IAEA is on the side of safely using nuclear technologies. If safety was not the top priority they would have never bothered scolding Japan BEFORE the accident. Only problem is that the IAEA has no power in any country and therefore only able to suggest things and not implement or mandate action.

-2 ( +10 / -11 )

IAEA is on the side of safely using nuclear technologies.

Which is why they could keep lying, if they could, to say that the technology is "safe". In fact, they did during Fukushima and they continue to do so.

-1 ( +7 / -9 )

Oh, looky here:

The IAEA classifies safety as one of its top three priorities, yet is spending only 8.9 percent of its 352 million-euro ($469 million) regular budget in 2011 on making plants secure from accidents. In December 2011, nine months after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the IAEA has yet to dedicate additional money to improve reactor safety. It focuses resources on the other two priorities -- technical cooperation and preventing nuclear- weapons proliferation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Atomic_Energy_Agency

They don't give a crap about safety, apparently, and they only care about promoting nuclear.

Safety is their concern? Not bloody likely...

-1 ( +8 / -10 )

Nuclear energy is far to costly to make sense, as the CEO of G.E. recently reminded us. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/30/us-energy-power-nuclear-shale-idUSBRE86T0AX20120730

The IAEA's primary mission is to propagandise in favour of nuclear energy, providing fodder for power companies to use in their campaigns to suck resources from taxpayers.

1 ( +7 / -7 )

Thomas AndersonAug. 11, 2012 - 03:28PM JST

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Atomic_Energy_Agency

According to Wikipedia:

"The neutrality of this section is disputed. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. (January 2012)"

As I stated in a comment directly above yours, IAEA has absolutely no way to force changes. What they can do, AND DO USE THEIR MONEY FOR, is research into plant safety. That's about all that they are legally able to do

1 ( +10 / -8 )

Ok, so the IAEA is pretty much a useless entity funded by tax-payers. Awesome.

Is this part false? I don't think so:

The IAEA ... is spending only 8.9 percent of its 352 million-euro ($469 million) regular budget in 2011 on making plants secure from accidents. In December 2011, nine months after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the IAEA has yet to dedicate additional money to improve reactor safety.

0 ( +7 / -8 )

I don't think that IAEA cares much about nuclear safety. Sure, they may care about nuclear proliferation and all that (although again, they are not very successful at it), but they don't really care about nuclear safety, even after Fukushima.

-1 ( +5 / -7 )

Thomas AndersonAug. 11, 2012 - 05:57PM JST

Is this part false?

Yes, it is false by misleading because it ignores what the IAEA is. You might remember that the wall at Hamaoka alone is almost three times the 2011 budget, so what is 40 million going to do when that doesn't even buy you 100m of seawall? IAEA is currently doing in Onagawa exactly what they were designed to do, take real world data from reactors and apply it to new design specifications that companies with nuclear plants should follow. Onagawa was the closest plant to the quake, but also closest to IAEA recommendations and thus operated not only as expected, but better than designed for.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Basroil, thank you for standing up for the IAEA when nobody else does. I also want to commend the courage of their choice of Onagawa as a nuclear plant to study in the wake of Fukushima. Currently, leading Japanese scientists have pointed to evidence of active nuclear faults under the Oi, Monju, Mihama, and Shika nuclear plants. Instead of focusing their efforts on these nuclear plants, the IAEA has chosen Onagawa. And the IAEA makes an insightful point if you read their report, there may be a margin of error in the ability of reactors to withstand a major quake.

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

Basroil, I am glad to see that you have joined the commentary about nuclear power in Japan. It is unfortunate that people are using the example of Fukushima as an example of instability rather than our industry's calculations about nuclear safety. And, as you point out, the IAEA has no real function regarding nuclear inspections. But, as we know, we can rely on the integrity of people who work in the nuclear industry to provide reliable and accurate information.

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

Re-establish the 'Safety Myth', reap the disaster. They truly are rather mad. The money blinding the rational part of the brain. No Nuclear Power in Japan, certainly not ones that use Uranium and its by-products.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

basroil

Yes, it is false by misleading because it ignores what the IAEA is. You might remember that the wall at Hamaoka alone is almost three times the 2011 budget, so what is 40 million going to do when that doesn't even buy you 100m of seawall?

Er, what? First off it's not false, and I don't think anyone is implying that the IAEA should pay for the sea wall ("technical cooperation" is what they do), that's for the owners of the plants to consider. Or maybe they could just shut them down instead?

From bloomberg:

About half of the IAEA's budget is devoted to restricting the use of nuclear material for military purposes, and the agency has spent a decade investigating Iran's atomic program because of suspicion the country is developing weapons.

Since coming to office in 2009, Amano has spent five times more money fighting terrorism and preventing proliferation than on making the world's 450 nuclear reactors safer, UN data show.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-08/un-s-atomic-regulator-funds-terror-fight-while-fukushima-response-starved.html

Basically they care more about the nuclear proliferation than the safety of nuclear plants.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I'll take the IAEA, a team of experts from the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency, over the J-gov, NISA, because in the past the NISA would say we don't need any help from the IAEA. IAEA are in Japan because pressure from local authorities. NISA, in the past, would just 'order other nuclear plant operators to make strict safety checks'. Remember the magnitude 6.8 quake on July 16, 2007 near the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant ?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Thomas AndersonAug. 11, 2012 - 09:18PM JST

Basically they care more about the nuclear proliferation than the safety of nuclear plants.

Well, there were over 2000 bomb tests since the 1940s, which released more radioactive fallout than all nuclear plant accidents combined, by several hundred times. They also have killed more than a hundred Fukushimas ever will. Nuclear plant accidents are always overblown by people who never consider history, and luckily IAEA knows this and continues their work as necessary.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Open MindedAug. 12, 2012 - 02:22AM JST

can you understand that the nuclear bomb tests and the NPP are juste ONE. And as you state the IAEA is totally useless from a worldwide safety standpoint!

It is amazing that the IAEA states that the Onagawa NPP "is remarkably undamaged". Would a melt-down been considered as normal?

You are being unreasonably closed minded about a topic that requires several degrees to fully understand, and IAEA has those degrees many hundred times over. IAEA would never consider a meltdown normal, and Onagawa never had a meltdown or reactor issues.

By remarkably undamaged, they probably mean that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the reactor core, and if any damage was found it was minor and to non-critical systems like the steam turbine.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The IAEA continues their work as a promotional agency with Onagawa inspections. Sadly, we do not have a nuclear regulatory agency that will protect us against Monju, a plant full of plutonium sitting over active faults.

Until honesty and integrity become a part of the nuclear industry, the roles of promotion and inspection should not be within the same bureau.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Remarkable?? So do we assume they were thinking worse and "Remakable" was the best vocab they had? Past incidences are not moot, it's the present circumstances that matter. Was it "Remakable" that nothing of note happened? Eg', It's remarkable there was no release of radiation

It's remarkable nobody died

It's Remakable people can still live within 100km

It's Remakable that people still support this industry?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

CrickyAug. 12, 2012 - 12:27PM JST

Remarkable?? So do we assume they were thinking worse and "Remakable" was the best vocab they had? Past incidences are not moot, it's the present circumstances that matter. Was it "Remakable" that nothing of note happened? Eg', It's remarkable there was no release of radiation

It simply means the damage was less than EXPECTED, and worth noting that it was less than expected. Doesn't mean a single thing other than the definition "worthy of notice of attention".

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Von RothbartAug. 12, 2012 - 02:53AM JST

Sadly, we do not have a nuclear regulatory agency that will protect us against Monju

Pretty sure that IAEA has hit Monju with a solid smack every time it starts up. Nobody likes that thing, it's expensive, dangerous, and serves no real purpose other than to make weapons grade plutonium, which IAEA hates even more than minor accidents.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Less than expected? So more damage was expected? Thank god!, not as much damage as " expected" . That really says a lot. Even the operators know and " expect" a catastrophe. Thank god there are no known long term health consequences!......

0 ( +2 / -2 )

basroil

Pretty sure that IAEA has hit Monju with a solid smack every time it starts up. Nobody likes that thing, it's expensive, dangerous, and serves no real purpose other than to make weapons grade plutonium, which IAEA hates even more than minor accidents.

We may wish that were the case, but read through the IAEA's website, they do more in the way of praise of Monju than anything else.

http://www.iaea.org/OurWork/ST/NE/Main/IAEA-NEWS/articles/Visit_to_Japan_DDG.html

International Workshop on Prevention and Mitigation of Severe Accidents in Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactors (SFR)

At the International SFR Workshop, organized by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) in cooperation with the IAEA in Tsuruga on 11–13 June 2012, DDG Bychkov delivered a keynote address (pptx) on ‘Fast Reactors and Closed Fuel Cycle: Safe Technologies and Sustainability’ and highlighted IAEA activities in this field.

“Fast reactors in a closed fuel cycle are recognized as an efficient and effective energy resource. In particular, sodium-cooled fast reactors play an important role in the sustainability of nuclear energy systems”, Mr Bychkov stated.

“If we consider the general framework of safety of fast reactors, current and future fast neutron reactors have to take into account the main lessons learned from the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station”, he observed and noted that “advanced technologies and the closing of the fuel cycle through a transition from thermal to fast reactors will remain a priority for the Agency”.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Von RothbartAug. 12, 2012 - 01:21PM JST

We may wish that were the case, but read through the IAEA's website, they do more in the way of praise of Monju than anything else.

They praise the promise of FBR types like Monju for the data that can be collected, and the future goal of using non-plutonium cycles (americium and others). In practice though, they keep a very short leash on them because of the plutonium fuel, since it's weapons grade plutonium rather than just reactor grade stuff. They collect more data and have more video from Monju than from all the other plants in Japan combined.

http://www.pnl.gov/main/publications/external/technical_reports/PNNL-17168.pdf

At first it sounds like an article praising advances in Monju's status, but then quickly turns into a list of problems that IAEA is sick of. And it doesn't even concern the safety aspects, just the fact that fuel is under-controlled and the companies and Japan are willingly standing in the way.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

CrickyAug. 12, 2012 - 01:16PM JST

Less than expected? So more damage was expected?

There are a million things they could have expected, and almost all of them have nothing to do with the core. Perhaps they expected steel drums with low level waste to spill, or that the turbine room would have an electrical fire, or that the command center copy machine would tip over. Damage can be a very wide term, and you should study up a bit more before assuming damage must be dangerous. The comments are typical of someone who uses emotion to overrule scientifically derived facts, evidence, and conclusions.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

zichi,

Amen. Why are people not in the streets demanding Amano's head (head of the IAEA)?

There is clear evidence that Oi and many of the other reactors just approved by NISA are directly over active faults.

Yet, the IAEA goes to Onagawa for a promotional campaign instead of addressing the serious issues. I hope other countries are noting what kind of international watchdog the IAEA is. Disgraceful corruption. Name one useful thing the IAEA has done in the wake of Fukushima.

Hopefully after the next nuclear accident we will learn to demand more of our regulators.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

zichiAug. 12, 2012 - 07:37PM JST

The Onagawa plant survived the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami and also the one in 2007. Appears to be built to better standards than the TEPCO plant in Fukushima. I think also, it's gas cooled?

Onagawa is a BWR just like Fukushima plants. Still water cooled, but almost a decade newer, proper two redundancy external power, elevated backup generators, and higher sea wall. It's built to current IAEA standards, not just the standards of three decades ago.

Why did the IAEA decide to visit Onagawa and not another power plant, like say, the second Fuksuhima plant which also mostly survived the earthquake and tsunami. Are they planning to restart it?

IAEA visited Onagawa as part of a tour of several plants, including Monju. I think they are still ongoing with their assessments at Onagawa and just haven't moved on yet. With luck, they will restart Onagawa and provide cheap, clean, safe energy to the Tohoku region, but it looks less likely for a quick restart due to political games being played out.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

basroil

With luck, they will restart Onagawa and provide cheap, clean, safe energy to the Tohoku region

Yes, let's keep our fingers crossed. However, there is nothing cheap about nuclear power.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Von RothbartAug. 12, 2012 - 11:04PM JST

there is nothing cheap about nuclear power.

Even in a worst case scenario, it is still only 8.5 yen/kWh, which is the cheapest energy outside of massive hydro plants. Before the accident it was at 5-6 yen/kWh, nearly half of what the next cheapest non-hydro source was. It is very cheap.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

zichiAug. 13, 2012 - 12:18AM JST

understand what failed rather than trying to promote what works.

In engineering, sometimes it's better to understand what works and simply copy that, since most of the issues were management ones or formally known issues that were never fixed even with IAEA recommendations. I think the main thing they are doing isn't civil engineering based, rather social engineering, since the biggest problem is management.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

zichiAug. 13, 2012 - 12:57AM JST

Per kWh, nuclear energy is more expensive than all the renewables and more expensive than coal and about the same price has gas. The price of nuclear energy will increase with the cost of the nuclear disaster and the cost of safety updates at the atomic power plants.

And as stated above and in links YOU have provided in the past, the worst case scenario according to the government is 8.5-8.9 yen/kWh, which is lower than the 9 for coal, 12 for oil, and 14 for LNG, and many times lower than the 30+ for wind and 42 for solar.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

basroil

the worst case scenario according to the government is 8.5-8.9 yen/kWh,

Wrong, the 8.9 yen/kWh scenario is based on the assumed compensation cost of 5.9 trillion yen. It goes up 0.1 yen/kWh per trillion yen.

http://www.npu.go.jp/policy/policy09/pdf/20111213/siryo1.pdf

14 for LNG

LOL no. LNG is 10 yen/kWh

30+ for wind

WRONG. Wind is 9.9 - 17.3 yen/kWh

42 for solar

WRONG AGAIN. 33.4 - 38.3 yen/kWh in 2010, however the FIT is 42 yen. I'm pretty sure by 2030 it will be lower than 8 yen.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Calculations by professor Kenichi Ooshima (in 2010):

Nuclear: 10.68 yen

Fossil fuels: 9.9 yen

Hydro: 3.98 yen

http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%8E%9F%E5%AD%90%E5%8A%9B%E7%99%BA%E9%9B%BB#.E8.AB.B8.E8.A9.A6.E7.AE.97.E3.80.81.E3.82.B3.E3.82.B9.E3.83.88.E6.AF.94.E8.BC.83

Calculations by US's EIA (in US):

LNG: 5.7-11.7 yen

Nuclear: 10.3 yen

Wind: 8.7 yen

Solar: 19 yen

Hydro: 7.8 yen

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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