Fukushima nuclear plant operator in Japan says it has no new safety concerns after Jan. 1 earthquake


TOKYO (AP) — The operator of Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant said Tuesday it has no new safety concerns and expects no changes to plans to close the plant after the deadly Jan. 1 earthquake. Is. plant, reigniting concerns and prompting a regulatory body to order a closer investigation.

Earthquake of 7.6 magnitude on New Year’s Day And dozens of strong aftershocks struck the north-central region of Japan, leaving 222 people dead and 22 missing. The main earthquake also caused a small tsunami.

Two reactors at the Shika Nuclear Power Plant on the west coast of the quake-hit Noto Peninsula survived. But its operator, Hokuriku Electric Power Co., later reported temporary power outages due to damaged transformers, spillage of radioactive water from a spent fuel cooling pool and cracks in the ground, but no radiation leaks outside.

“At the moment, we believe there will be no changes to our (Fukushima Daiichi decommissioning) plan due to the Noto earthquake,” said Akira Ono, head of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings’ decommissioning unit for Fukushima Daiichi.

He said TEPCO’s assessment had confirmed the integrity of all Fukushima Daiichi reactor buildings, even in the possible case of an earthquake 1.5 times more powerful than the March 2011 earthquake.

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A magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that year destroyed key cooling systems at the plant, triggering a triple meltdown, spreading radioactive material into surrounding areas and rendering some areas still uninhabitable.

Ono said there were no major problems at TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, the world’s largest, which has seven reactors at its complex and is located 118 kilometers (73 miles) east of the epicenter and additional safety measures were in place. Will not be required. But he said the utility would wait for nuclear safety regulators to review the impact of the Noto earthquake.

He also acknowledged that the New Year’s Day earthquake “saved” many people and that it was a warning to Fukushima Daiichi, where many operations are conducted, about potential hazards from the equipment or facilities used. Will be better prepared to stop. Stay on campus when another major earthquake or tsunami occurs.

TEPCO has since been working to shut down the plant, a daunting task that is expected to take decades to complete. Ono said facilities that have been built at the Fukushima Daiichi plant since the disaster have been designed under strict safety standards set by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

“I believe the Noto earthquake will not have any major impact on them,” Ono said.

The NRA called for further investigation at a meeting last week, although initial assessments showed there was no immediate threat to the Shika plant. NRA officials said Shika’s operator should consider the possibility of additional damage to transformers and other major equipment as shaking continues.

The NRA order reflects Japan’s greater vigilance over safety risks following the 2011 Fukushima meltdown.

TEPCO is eager to restart its only viable Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant after a pause of more than 10 years, after the NRA lifted a more than two-year ban over its lax nuclear safeguards at the site.

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