Homeland Security: 2 U.S. power plants victim of cyber attack — Reports: Occurring at alarming rate… “Reminiscent of Stuxnet”

Published: January 17th, 2013 at 12:19 am ET
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The Hill, Jan. 14:

The energy sector was the target of more than 40 percent of all reported cyberattacks on critical infrastructure networks last year, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Malicious attacks on oil-and-gas pipelines and electric utilities occurred at an “alarming rate,” DHS’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team warns in a recent report. [...]

Power Engineering, Jan. 15:

Two unnamed U.S. power plants fell victim to a cyber attack after viruses and malware were found on computers in the plants. Both incidents were reported in a newsletter from the U.S. Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team, a section of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. [...]

PCMag, Jan. 16 (h/t Anonymous tip):

[...] The incident is reminiscent of Stuxnet, a virus reportedly deployed by the U.S. and Israeli governments in order to slow the spread of Iran’s nuclear program. The actual deployment of Stuxnet was carried out by “spies and unwitting accomplices,” who physically carried thumb drives loaded with the virus into the facility, according to a 2012 New York Times report.

INDUSTRIAL CONTROL SYSTEMS CYBER EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM, October/November/December 2012:

ICS-CERT recently provided onsite support at a power generation facility where both common and sophisticated malware had been discovered in the industrial control system environment. The malware was discovered when an employee asked company IT staff to inspect his USB drive after experiencing intermittent issues with the drive’s operation. The employee routinely used this USB drive for backing up control systems configurations within the control environment. When the IT employee inserted the drive into a computer with up-to-date antivirus software, the antivirus software produced three positive hits. Initial analysis caused particular concern when one sample was linked to known sophisticated malware. [...]

In early October 2012, a power company contacted ICS-CERT to report a virus infection in a turbine control system which impacted approximately ten computers on its control system network. Discussion and analysis of the incident revealed that a third-party technician used a USB-drive to upload software updates during a scheduled outage for equipment upgrades. Unknown to the technician, the USB-drive was infected with crimeware. The infection resulted in downtime for the impacted systems and delayed the plant restart by approximately 3 weeks. [...]

See also: Japan TV: Tepco was victim of "cyber attack" in past year

Published: January 17th, 2013 at 12:19 am ET
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55 comments to Homeland Security: 2 U.S. power plants victim of cyber attack — Reports: Occurring at alarming rate… “Reminiscent of Stuxnet”

  • "Unknown to the technician, the USB-drive was infected with crimeware. "

    I hadn't really heard the term crimeware before. I was able to guess what it was though.
    ___

    "Crimeware is a class of malware designed specifically to automate cybercrime."

    "Crimeware also often has the intent to export confidential or sensitive information from a network for financial exploitation. Crimeware represents a growing problem in network security as many malicious code threats seek to pilfer confidential information."

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

    :( Yet another hole in the nuclear 'safety' net.


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    • gladys a milyon gladys a milyon

      >Believing the new York times is reporting the truth.

      The thumb drive bit is a psyop.


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      • PavewayIII PavewayIII

        The NRC points out that infected thumb drives are clearly a beyond-design-basis event. Plant operators have determined the probability of being infected by one is less than 1.0E-12. The regulators conclude current reactor safety systems offer adequate protection to the public in the nearly impossible occurrence of a so-called infected drive.

        The NRC will remain focused on the continued, direct threat posed by swiftly-hobbling 82-year-old nuns and the agency's dire need for heavy automatic weapons and adequate depleted uranium ammo to counter these bipedal terrorists.

        Tomorrow's news: Obama signs Executive Order to restrict the sale and possession of thumb drives to authorized individuals citing 'portable data' as a clear threat to homeland security. Existing thumb drive owners will require a criminal background check and registration of all such devices after proving a credible need for such a device. DHS is authorized to seize and inspect these devices at any time to ensure the safety of the public and may share their findings with federal RIAA/MMPA enforcement officials.

        Thumb drives are a privilege granted by the state, not a right.


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        • aigeezer aigeezer

          PavewayIII, that's a beauty. Save a copy to show your grandchildren some day when you have to tell them how satire worked.

          I've been re-reading Orwell lately – perhaps you have too.

          Rambling a bit, but still on topic (I hope). I am amused by the fact that all programs and data in contemporary computers can be viewed as a binary string, or indeed as a number (to any arbitary base, not only binary. That's ALL data and programs – our browsers, government tax data bases, porn, computer games, MP3 music, what you're reading now, Stuxnet… all of it.

          Our governments, in their wisdom, declare some of these numbers to be BAD NUMBERS. It is illegal for us to possess some, mandatory for us to use others, OK to copy some but not others, permissible for some people to use some numbers but not for other people to use them, and so forth.

          We live in a very strange world. My home planet was never like this.


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          • PavewayIII PavewayIII

            The binary numbers are simply the encoded version of a well-known terrorist-derived numbering system (TDNS). If you're not doing something illegal, then you should have no need to encode ANY numbers or use TDNS. Use of TDNS is currently tolerated by DHS because of the freedom of speech loophole in the U.S. constitution by founding terrorists. That situation is being remedied as we speak.

            Detailed DHS and NSA studies point conclusively to the terrorist origins of the ARABIC numerals used today:

            1. IRAQUIS (Babalonians) steal the Indian numerical symbols and use them without permission in second and first millenia BCE. This was an early form of P2P copyright infringement.

            1.a These were not even original Babalonians by that time. Terrorists and immigrants from SYRIA had overrun Babylon by then!

            2. IRANIAN (Persian) mathematician Al-Khwarizmi, ARAB mathematician Al-Kindi and SYRIAN mathematician Abu'l-Hasan al-Uqlidisi conspire to publish details about how to use the stolen numbering system – obviously for enriching uranium. LYBIA influences the final West Arabic form.

            2a. They finally get around to adding the numeral 0, even though Egyptian accountants were using it three thousand years before that.

            3. The 15th century print press results in widespread use of the terrorist numbering system in the West.

            Today: Binary, hexidecimal and other confusing encoding schemes are used to hide ARABIC numerals in plain sight.


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    • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

      What really happened at Fukushima? via A Green Road
      http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2012/02/what-really-happened-at-fukushima.html

      How Dangerous Is 400-600 Pounds Of Plutonium Nano Particle Dust Liberated By Fukushima? Via A Green Road http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2012/03/how-dangerous-is-400-600-pounds-of.html


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      • PattieB PattieB

        I left comment…
        Your mostly right.
        The truth however, is far worse. I have internal Docs. Photos of Pu-239 type BREEDER rods in pools and reactors. The #4 reactor was running full with top off, and open-core with such rods… it burned up into the air. The second fire was also PU-B rods that were in the cask pool… burned. There are 40 such in #4's pool… doing a slow burn due to low water level event. That's the glowing blob. The first #3 was hydrogen, causing compression that lit the PU-B rods off in prompt crit. Due to range limits on such events, most rods were not burned, but atomized and ejected. The second #3 bang, was the core breach criticality, but forced down into the earth… though it did break and eject the core-lid 1/2 a mile from the plant. There are on-going criticalities in #3 pool, even today. There are a multitude of broken rods still inside it… around the edges of the pool remains.
        The corium of #3 (I have the complete control systems dump records for reactors 3 & 4) It still has enough fissile meterial in the mix to have a criticality event of great magnitude if it comes in contact with a reflector. water works, but need to make a cavern in earth filled with it to make work. Bedrock works better. 100% chance of bang when it reaches it.


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  • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

    stuxnet, now obviously this and more to come. Observe what happens when you give unlimited power and resources to deranged adult children who call themselves leaders. World destruction. If only we could stop the maniacs. But…theyre EVERYWHERE….

    People like to elect leaders, with one "team" fighting the other. The leaders were all to eager to rule over the people….no, the world. The sick enabling the insane, everyone the victim.


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Totally idiotic to have these dangerous and unneeded technologies in existence. Scientists, their employers, and all government officials need to stop being so ill-informed about this. Wake up, please.


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  • rebelgroove

    Stuxnet was an Israeli product … Israel is NOT an American Ally … Israel has allies but is not an ally to any other nation.


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  • bwoodfield bwoodfield

    Frankly it doesn't matter who developed the code, once you release it into the wild there is a high probability someone else will find and reverse engineer it. Once that happens it's going to be available to anyone that is able to pay for it. Stuxnet is just one of many. It's like the stealth bomber that's on display and while everyone is pouring over it, the government is testing the stealth drones the next valley over.


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    • Anthony Anthony

      I think whoever made it might know a fix for it! One can hope….


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    • The_New_Normal The_New_Normal

      The theory goes that the USA wrote the core of stuxnet, and it's quite sophisticated. The Israelis then wrapped it up for deployment, but didn't do a great job of it (whether intentionally or not, who knows).

      It deployed ok, but (so the theory goes) could be 'unwrapped' and used by others.

      arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/06/confirmed-us-israel-created-stuxnet-lost-control-of-it/


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Usually..the US and Israel..are in cooperation together..so I find it odd that the US is the target.
    To me it sounds like a false flag..to begin another 'knee-jerk' reaction…such as putting machine guns on top the reactors.
    One thing has nothing to do with the other…but hey.


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    • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

      Stuxnet is important to understand, Heart. Stuxnet invades a network through an infected thumb drive inserted into a nrtwork computer. Sends out feelers on the network, looking for a certain configuration of components that tells the program that it has invaded a targeted network. Then, Stuxnet learns the network. What is the range of typical temperatures here, what are the normal pressures there. If the configuration is that of the target network, Stuxnet takes over key automated systems, opening one valve, and closing another, but altering the reported output of temperatures and pressures, in order to convince operators that the plant is operating normally. Meanwhile, in reality, the plant is being systematically destroyed by the virus.

      If this is happening to an Iranian Nuclear Plant, you might say, so much the better. Iran has already had to evacuate one city, and may have to evacuate its capital Tehran, as a result of such an attack. But Stuxnet got out into the world, infecting computer networks. So what, now? We shall see.


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      • buzzz buzzz

        How might this be good if it were happening in Iran?

        Aside from the ethical question involved with exposing anybody to radiation, this time the radiation will stop at Iran's borders? Or is it good radiation because the good guys are setting it free?


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  • weeman

    Are you telling me one thumb drive has the potential to put a nuclear plant into melt down and or to steal nuclear technology, pathetic our own technology will be the termination of the plant, they can keep the formula for coke a secret but they can not Safegaurd a nuclear plant, balderdash.
    As Laurel said another fine mess you have got us into Hardy.
    That's all folks. Hahahaha.


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  • ftlt

    Gallows humor… The Media, I mean..


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  • PattieB PattieB

    The reason the formula for coke MUST be kept..? I most likely shares ingrediants with "Secret" of fracking fluid formulation! And so… we would then understand that we have been drinking it (Poison) for decades!

    what are the odds…?


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  • The astute followers of Energy News here have noticed that DHS is being unusually forthcoming with details about those nasty NPP security breaches. Perhaps they'll soon reveal it's Emmanuel Goldstein himself who's been corrupting thumb drives with crimeware.

    Realistically: we're living in a juggernaut of a society, the majority and the institutions of which have accepted the Official Conspiracy Theory of 9/11. ("D'oh!") The rest of us must simply learn to cope and optimize living with a separate sense of reality, steadfastly preserving it until –"the sunrise".

    Banish me to "Off-Topic" if you must, but maintaining our faith in the eventual triumph of the human spirit is essential to the art of living. While it's contradictory to offer evidence, I suggest that our very laments here are proof that, despite our sorrowful history, somehow the seeds, the want of truth, love, and environmental stewardship, survive. I can think of only one explanation: we're hard-wired for it.


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    • Sol Man

      Craig, We can only hope that a majority of humans are as you describe, but seeing the reality of what we, as top species (?!), have done to the world and everything in it over the past 40 years or so, noting more proofs here on enenews; I have my doubts.
      May we move with peace in our hearts!


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  • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

    Lets be clear; to assure the safety of Americans and our homeland, we ….deliberately sent cyber warfare that would destabilize nuclear reactors out to the enemy and world at large. This is what we do…protect Americans and create jobs, enforcing the rule of law…

    Scary thing is probably 80% of the population (they know the exact figure) believe this kind of rhetoric.

    But to the post of Craig123 above, there is a problem of this blind faith that the good in humanity will triumph. Its already too late for how many species? This should be thought of as a last chance war. If only the public was aware, we could simply ostracize these maniacs from society and cut off their funding. They hung up Mussolini unceremoniously from a gas station.

    extreme circumstances may require extreme measures


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  • VanneV anne

    Stuxnet doesn't shut down nuclear power plants. It just stopped enrichment of uranium to weapons grade fissile material:

    “Stuxnet is a highly sophisticated computer worm. Discovered in June 2010, Stuxnet initially spreads via Microsoft Windows, and targets Siemens industrial software and equipment. …

    “Siemens stated that the worm has not caused any damage to its customers,[13] but the Iran nuclear program, which uses embargoed Siemens equipment procured secretly, has been damaged by Stuxnet.[14][15]…”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuxnet

    They weren't using those computer systems at Fukushima Daiichi according to the technicians there.


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  • oh, and these also:

    – FUKUSHIMA: POSSIBLE CAUSES & COVER UPS
    http://femalefaust.blogspot.com/2011/10/perhaps-you-can-help-me-would-like-to.html

    – Tepco, 2010: Aging Management and Safe Long Term Operation At Guess Where
    http://femalefaust.blogspot.com/2011/06/s-files-tepco-ppt-ageing-management- at.html

    – "'Link in Your Mind' <br />Cyberattacks and Fukushima"
    http://femalefaust.blogspot.com/2011/12/dhs-warns-of-scada-vulnerability.html

    – DHS warns of SCADA vulnerability; neglects to mention what it resembles or how closely | (the STUXNET files)
    http://femalefaust.blogspot.com/2011/12/dhs-warns-of-scada-vulnerability.html


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    • VanneV anne

      razzz
      October 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm
      "Fukushima 1-4 are old technology. (not even legacy but analog). All instrumentation is hard wired dial indicators with manual controls. They didn't have the computer technology to infect with a virus. Closest thing to a computer readings were printout readings from instruments transferred to folded pin-fed printer sheets.
      Escaping technicians were handwriting down important dial instrument readings on paper before fleeing the buildings."
      http://enenews.com/officials-high-levels-explosive-gas-being-detected-water-wells-sinkhole-potential-health-risk-immediate-remediation-needed-heed-evacuation-orders/comment-page-1#comment-293514


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    • VanneV anne

      Fallout forensics hike radiation toll
      “….The latest analysis also presents evidence that xenon-133 began to vent from Fukushima Daiichi immediately after the quake, and before the tsunami swamped the area. This implies that even without the devastating flood, the earthquake alone was sufficient to cause damage at the plant.”
      http://www.nature.com/news/2011/111025/full/478435a.html


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    • VanneV anne

      “– Reactors are disposable crack-shacks, designed to last 30 years or so then abandoned. Japan was to have hundreds of reactors, with the current models rendered ‘obsolete’ by an array of MOX-burning 3d Gen high-tech versions. Two lost decades put an end to that fantasy and the old privvies are patched together and kicked down the road … until the inevitable blow up….”
      http://www.economic-undertow.com/2011/11/07/non-battle-of-fukushima/


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    • VanneV anne

      Engineers Knew Fukushima Might Be Unsafe, But Covered It Up … And Now the Extreme Vulnerability of NEW U.S. Plants Is Being Covered Up
      Posted on November 12, 2011 by WashingtonsBlog
      “In 2004, Leuren Moret warned in the Japan Times of the exact type of nuclear catastrophe that Japan is now experiencing:
      “’Japan sits on top of four tectonic plates, at the edge of the subduction zone, and is in one of the most tectonically active regions of the world.
      ***
      “’Many of those reactors have been negligently sited on active faults, particularly in the subduction zone along the Pacific coast, where major earthquakes of magnitude 7-8 or more on the Richter scale occur frequently. The periodicity of major earthquakes in Japan is less than 10 years. There is almost no geologic setting in the world more dangerous for nuclear power than Japan — the third-ranked country in the world for nuclear reactors.
      “’”I think the situation right now is very scary,” says Katsuhiko Ishibashi, a seismologist and professor at Kobe University. “It’s like a kamikaze terrorist wrapped in bombs just waiting to explode.”
      “As the US Geological Survey notes, Japan has had many earthquakes, including:
      • 1891 10 27 – Mino-Owari, Japan – M 8.0 Fatalities 7,273
      • 1896 06 15 – Sanriku, Japan – M 8.5 Fatalities 27,000
      • 1911 06 15 – Ryukyu Islands, Japan – M 8.1 Fatalities 12
      • 1923 09 01 – Kanto (Kwanto), Japan – M 7.9 Fatalities 143,000


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    • VanneV anne

      [cont.]

      • 1927 03 07 – Tango, Japan – M 7.6 Fatalities 3,020
      • 1933 03 02 – Sanriku, Japan – M 8.4 Fatalities 2,990
      • 1943 09 10 – Tottori, Japan – M 7.4 Fatalities 1,190
      • 1944 12 07 – Tonankai, Japan – M 8.1 Fatalities 1,223
      • 1945 01 12 – Mikawa, Japan – M 7.1 Fatalities 1,961
      • 1946 12 20 – Nankaido, Japan – M 8.1 Fatalities 1,330
      • 1948 06 28 – Fukui, Japan – M 7.3 Fatalities 3,769
      • 1952 03 04 – Hokkaido, Japan region – M 8.1 Fatalities 31
      • 1964 06 16 – Niigata, Japan – M 7.5 Fatalities 26
      • 1968 05 16 – Off the East Coast of Honshu, Fatalities 10,019
      “In addition, years before Fukushima engineer Mitsuhiko Tanaka blew the whistle on the fact that Tepco covered up a defective containment vessel, the above-quoted Japan Times article blew the whistle:
      “’Yoichi Kikuchi, a Japanese nuclear engineer who also became a whistle-blower, has told me personally of many safety problems at Japan’s nuclear power plants, such as cracks in pipes in the cooling system from vibrations in the reactor. He said the electric companies are “gambling in a dangerous game to increase profits and decrease government oversight.”


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    • VanneV anne

      The Goal of TEPCO’s Meltdown Analysis
      The workers at the plant and our evidence show something quite different to TEPCO’s claim. The Atlantic article that interviewed workers who were at the plant during the quake made statements that showed considerable damage and chaos was going on before the tsunami hit.
      “I personally saw pipes that came apart and I assume that there were many more that had been broken throughout the plant. There’s no doubt that the earthquake did a lot of damage inside the plant,” he said. “There were definitely leaking pipes, but we don’t know which pipes – that has to be investigated. I also saw that part of the wall of the turbine building for Unit 1 had come away. That crack might have affected the reactor.”
      “It felt like the earthquake hit in two waves, the first impact was so intense you could see the building shaking, the pipes buckling, and within minutes, I saw pipes bursting. Some fell off the wall. Others snapped. I was pretty sure that some of the oxygen tanks stored on site had exploded but I didn’t see for myself. Someone yelled that we all needed to evacuate and I was good with that. But I was severely alarmed because as I was leaving I was told and I could see that several pipes had cracked open, including what I believe were cold water supply pipes. That would mean that coolant couldn’t get to the reactor core.


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      • VanneV anne

        [cont.]
        But I was severely alarmed because as I was leaving I was told and I could see that several pipes had cracked open, including what I believe were cold water supply pipes. That would mean that coolant couldn’t get to the reactor core. If you can’t sufficiently get the coolant to the core, it melts down. You don’t have to have to be a nuclear scientist to figure that out.”
        “As he was heading to his car, he could see the walls of the reactor one building itself had already started to collapse. “There were holes in them. In the first few minutes, no one was thinking about a tsunami. We were thinking about survival.”
        “After the second shockwave hit, I heard a loud explosion that was almost deafening. I looked out the window and I could see white smoke coming from reactor one.”
        When the worker got to the office five to 15 minutes later the supervisor ordered them all to evacuate, explaining, “there’s been an explosion of some gas tanks in reactor one, probably the oxygen tanks. In addition to this there has been some structural damage, pipes have burst, meltdown is possible. Please take shelter immediately.”
        Our photo records showed a significant fissure runs up to the unit 1 reactor building. TEPCO later filled in this large fissure with dirt as can be seen in the 2nd image.


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      • VanneV anne

        [cont.]
        This along with all the workers accounts raise concerns that inside unit 1 is heavily damaged and cracked. Containment and the concrete base mat could be drastically cracked and TEPCO is ignoring these factors."
        http://www.simplyinfo.org/?p=4243


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    • VanneV anne

      [Geology of Fukushima]
      “I have talked with some of my colleagues (geology professors) today, and some of them knew for many years/decades that the bed rock of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuke Power Plant is soft sedimentary rock. They do not know why government (both national and local/prefectural) approved for the construction of the plant on such a bad spot, and can only think of*unethical acts of polititians and the industry.*Also,*my colleagues warn that the type of bed rock, which geologists identify,*and the strength/suitability of the*bed rock, which soil/geo-engineers determine, is different, even though I would*still support that*young sedimentary rocks below the Fukushima Daiichi Nuke Plant is NOT*suitable for constructing buildings that have to endure earthquakes. ”
      http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=3356008#post3356008


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    • VanneV anne

      Faults unconsidered in the seismic design of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear … Map of Outer sea from Shioyazaki” (Geological Survey Japan, 2001)
      http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/betu11_e/images/110531e4.pdf


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    • VanneV anne

      Japan tsunami: Fukushima Fifty, the first interview
      Exclusive: in their own words, members of the Fukushima Fifty – the emergency crew tackling Japan’s nuclear crisis – tell of the dangers and fears they face
      “…Workers told how the earthquake ripped through the plant, immediately knocking out the main power. A ghastly boom was heard in the suppression chamber of reactor 4, said Kenji Tada, who was there at the time. Cracks started ripping in the asphalt and the sides of the building. They fled before the tsunami arrived and did its worst. As the situation deteriorated, the first explosion, at reactor 3 on March 14, happened at the precise moment that six soldiers from the Japanese Central Nuclear Biological Chemical Weapon Defence Unit arrived at the reactor in two vehicles. The six of them are now dead, buried under flying concrete….”
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8408863/Japan-tsunami-Fukushima-Fifty-the-first-interview.html


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  • PattieB PattieB

    with the #1 reactor…

    Had they not lost power, had they not been hit with the wave. The safty pressure relief system had a compleate fault in logic of design. They could not activate the system even after they got battery power. They could not activate the system using aux compressors due to broken pipes… but lets say the pipes were fine. The system still could not be activated bacause the flaw.
    The first stage pressure relief sent the steam to the suppresion pool as designed. (The torus/donut) BUT! The second stage relief runs through the torus, and out to the vent stack. The pressure in the torus was greater than in the PCV (Core) and so it was physicaly impossible for the safty relief valves to be opened, no matter what they did! At that point… even with full power restored, the unit was on runaway to meltdown with no way to stop it. The pressure wouldn't allow water to even be injected if they were suddenly made available!
    COMPLETE funtional FLAW in the BASE DESIGN of that type of reactors!
    They say the pipes were sub-standard… yada, yada, yada… IRRELEVANT!


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    • VanneV anne

      They also had welded all the vents shut so they couldn't be used in an emergency. This was after the nuclear accident at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant after an earthquake, and people complained about the radiation vented into the atmosphere..


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