Seawater and sand caused blackout at Fukushima Daiichi? — Crucial power device “left on back of vehicle… exposed to the elements” (PHOTO)

Published: March 20th, 2013 at 3:46 pm ET


Title: TEPCO yet to learn from nuclear disaster / Problematic ‘makeshift’ power panel was exposed to elements, in use since initial crisis response
Source: Yomiuri Shimbun
Author: Koichi Yasuda and Takashi Ito
Date: Mar. 21, 2013

Monday’s power outage at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant highlighted the utility’s management defects at the crippled facility […]

TEPCO officials inspected the temporary power distribution panels […]

Source: Tepco

[The] power panel in question […] was exposed to the weather while left on the back of the vehicle.

[…] Prof. Masanori Aritomi of Tokyo Institute of Technology said, “Due to the recent strong wind, seawater and sand from the nearby beach might have been blown into the power panel.”

“Salt in the sand and seawater could have caused the power panel to short out,” the reactor engineering expert added. […]

TEPCO was in fact aware of the vulnerability of the temporary power panel that had been exposed to the elements. […]

Full report here

Tepco’s Response? “This is the first time that operation of the cooling system was halted for such a long time at several core facilities all together. If you say we were complacent about making our decision and dealing with the situation, I can’t deny that.”

See also: [intlink id=”rat-like-animal-blamed-for-fukushima-blackout” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: March 20th, 2013 at 3:46 pm ET


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25 comments to Seawater and sand caused blackout at Fukushima Daiichi? — Crucial power device “left on back of vehicle… exposed to the elements” (PHOTO)

  • patb2009

    the whole thing is running on spit and bailing wire.

    One big storm, a decent quake, a small tornado,
    the whole smash falls apart

  • Mack Mack

    Good grief, it looks like they have the electrical panel sitting in one of those food vendor carts.

    Compare the photo above to this:×800.jpg

    (i'm kidding)

    • m a x l i

      Interesting, nevertheless. The label ICE COLD DRINKS immediately jumps in the eye. I'm sure the food vendors take better care that the cooling works properly all the time. If it goes wrong, it's their loss!

      What do the nucleocrats* lose if everything goes wrong? They gain. They kill their future prison guards.

      (*I am not talking about the workers who have to move their arse into the high-radiation zone.)

  • timemachine2020 timemachine2020

    From rats to sand and salty air. Tell the truth for a change, you have no fffing idea what the problem is. Don't guess the high radiation had anything to do with it. If this three ring circus sideshow and lego games tepco is putting on is allowed to continue, we will all meet our maker sooner than later. The russians had 500,000 men working 24/7 to contain theirs. Tepco is nothing but a bunch of LIARS and INCOMPETENTS. They have already destroyed Japan. Guess they want to take the rest of us with them. You never see any work past 4 oclock pm or on the weekends. They act like this is a 8 to 4 job and thats it. Ofcourse our grand leadership allowed 20,000 sailors and marines to get exposed and turned off the EPA radiation monitors so it doesn't look like our government cares about its citizens much either. The leadership of our country sucks right now. To busy planning more wars with Iran and N Korea than the immediate radiation threat to our country. When will enough be enough?

  • We Not They Finally

    So this was like, oh, I left my laptop on the beach and some sand blew in it and then some rats chewed on the wires? Then they say, oh, well, we were "complacent." "Complacent" about THE WORLD BLOWING UP?? Us, we're not complacent. We want permanent jail time without parole for the TEPCO people, and someone less insane and more competent at the helm. Well, if there is a "helm." Maybe the most disturbing thing is that they act like it's all progressed over the top ANYWAY, so why even bother with a pretense of protecting people? Let's still hope that that's not so, but what else accounts for such behavior?

    • Dogleg Dogleg

      I keep coming to that very conclusion WNTF. Seems to be the only logical answer for the behavior of the world leaders when you think things through. They are completly outmatched and they have known this from early on.

  • dosdos dosdos

    You're dealing with a supervisor mentality that was trained to follow the step by step manual. Ad libbing is not their forte. Troubleshooting ad lib even less so.

    • Even worse, this particular situation was not in the manual to begin with.

      The chapter they are now re-writing will have to be retitled:

      How NOT to Manage a Triple-Reactor Melt-through

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    They've had to monkey-rig everything because the nuclear industry can't deal with meltdowns. Each nuclear disaster is a surprise, caused by a unique and set of circumstances.

    Meanwhile, somebody, somewhere, forces every living thing on our planet to breathe and eat man-made radiation.

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    TEPCO to manage 2 nuclear power plants in the US:

    How the “Peaceful Atom” Became a Serial Killer
    The nuclear myth melts down.
    “…The Obama administration has already proposed an additional $36 billion in such guarantees to underwrite new plant construction. That includes $4 billion for the construction of two new nuclear reactors on the Gulf Coast that are to be operated in partnership with Tokyo Electric Power Company—that's right, the very outfit that runs the Fukushima complex. Yet when I debate nuclear advocates, they always claim that, in cost terms, nuclear power outcompetes alternative sources of energy like wind and solar….”

    • Sickputer

      That article was two years old. The Japanese consortiums are no longer in the picture AFAIK for any American new nuclear facilities.

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        There are no US nuclear companies that are not owned by the Japanese. There is GE-Hitachi. There is Westinghouse 87% of which is owned by Toshiba. Here is Mitsubishi.

        • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

          Nuclear and Oil

          Hitachi Consulting's Oil & Gas practice…

          Nuclear Energy

          “GE Hitachi has provided advanced and sophisticated technology for the nuclear energy industry for more than five decades beginning with the first privately financed commercial nuclear power plant. The GE Hitachi nuclear alliance combines GE’s design expertise and history delivering reactors, fuels and services globally with Hitachi’s proven experience in advanced modular construction. …”

          “With over 40 years experience in the pipeline industry, Toshiba offers unsurpassed quality and reliability in medium voltage motor
          and medium voltage drive solutions for oil and gas field applications.

          • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

            Toshiba International Corporation – Oil & Gas Sales
            “…Toshiba and ABB nuclear technology, Westinghouse operating experience, and career BWR technical talent have converged to make Westinghouse one of the world’s premier BWR service organizations. We are focused on ensuring our customers’ operating plant success through reliable operation, maximized power output and improved outage performance.
            “Since 1980, Westinghouse has supplied products and services to boiling water reactor (BWR) nuclear plants around the world and has helped these plants meet the ever-present challenge of improving availability, performance and safety….”

            Westinghouse Electric Company LLC
            Toshiba (87%) (majority owner)

          • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

            “…The company was established 1888 as the "Nippon Oil" (日本石油 Nihon Sekiyu?), "Nisseki" (日石) for short. In 1999, the company merged with and absorbed the former "Mitsubishi Oil" (三菱石油 Mitsubishi Sekiyu?). The merged company was called "Nippon Mitsubishi Oil" (日石三菱 Nisseki Mitsubishi?) until 2002, when it adopted its present name….”

            Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems
            “Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems, or MNES, is a designer of America’s next generation of clean air nuclear energy generating stations, the US-APWR, and is an emerging leader in nuclear energy services….”

        • We Not They Finally

          You're totally correct. And in context, there is no WORSE country this could have happened in than Japan, who is the LEAST likely to face, much less change the reality(plus being on the sea and seismically unstable). We were horrified some time into this to discover that even MIT has "a TEPCO chair."

  • pcjensen

    this is pure insanity ratcheting up .. what exactly is the problem with arresting IAEA officials for allowing so much freaking fraud, ineptitude, lies, bullying, bribery, gang infested activity to occur. I'm sure I could say more, but that'd just be repetitive at this point. Arrest them, gather up all of their data and papers including stored boxes in warehouse, CDs, whatever… all documentation needs auditing. These freaks are succeeding in wiping out some portion of life on earth and they need to be stopped. Shut down all nukes until things are figured out, then evaluate findings, and shut them all down. If need be, we take this to the ICC.

  • pcjensen

    excuse me, "gross ineptitude" I meant.

  • homeenergyexpert homeenergyexpert



  • I take it Ronnie the Rat is off the hook then, or will be volunteered back in if the sand-and-seaspray (complete with buckyballs) idea doesn't stick.

    • Sand and seaspray might be admitting too much. Looks like the NYT wants Ronnie to win this PR game:

      Rat Body Linked to Blackout at Atomic Site
      Published: March 20, 2013

      "The operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, said that when its engineers looked inside a faulty switchboard, they found burn marks and the rodent’s scorched body. The company said it appeared that the rat had somehow short-circuited the switchboard, possibly by gnawing on cables.

      The company, known as Tepco, has blamed problems with the switchboard for the power failure that began Monday, cutting off the flow of cooling water to four pools used to store more than 8,800 nuclear fuel rods. It took Tepco almost a day to restore cooling to the first of the affected pools, with cooling of the final pool resuming early Wednesday."

      • Well, we've gone from rat to sand-seaspray to "rat-like" now:

        'Rat-like animal' blamed for Fukushima power cut
        By North Asia correspondent Mark Willacy
        Updated Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:39pm AEDT

        Incidentally, they're working on nuking space now:

        Voyager 1 Leaves The Solar System (PICTURES)
        Huffington Post UK | By Michael Rundle
        Posted: 20/03/2013 15:16 GMT | Updated: 21/03/2013 08:37 GMT

        "Within 15 years its plutonium generator will stop producing electricity, at which point its transmitter will die and it will drift alone in space."

        So, be careful if you're out there floating around …

  • Look they havn't even levelled as to where the corium is. Rats, sand or water is all a side show. The pump is several miles away from the melt throughs. The common fuel poop has 6300 spent fuel bundles. Each bundle contains, I'm not sure, 60 fuel rods? That would burn for decades. Everything is jury rigged out of nesecity due to working fast in high radiation areas. Its abigger mess then what they will admit and all they can do is lie to avoid panic.
    The panel failed due to some technical issue that may have something to do with high radiation, we're not sure, that's a plausable explanation.