Earlier incident at Fukushima should have been warning

Chester Dawson of the Wall Street Journal posted a piece today that suggests that design problems at Fukushima Daiichi made the plant unsafe, even before the earthquake and tsunami:

Nine months before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that precipitated the nuclear disaster, a loss of power triggered a two-meter drop in water levels inside the plant’s No. 2 reactor. Unlike the March meltdown, the little-reported June 17, 2010 glitch didn’t release radiation. And it wasn’t caused by a giant wave, but rather a misplaced elbow.

In a final report issued about the incident on July 6, 2010, Tepco noted the cramped work space in the plant’s control room as a contributing factor. For some nuclear power plant experts, that invokes a powerful sense of déjà vu.

“These plants are all of roughly the same vintage and suffer from a common lack of ‘human factors’ considerations in the design of their control systems. That was a major contributing cause to the Three Mile Island accident,” said Najmedin Meshkati,a professor of civil engineering at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, who authored a 1991 study of human factors in large-scale industrial accidents.

Here’s a link: http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2011/06/15/deja-vu-all-over-again-at-fukushima-daiichi/

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About Robert Singleton

By day, I work for a call center. In my spare time, I try to save my hometown (and planet) from a nearly constant onslaught of greedheads, lunatics and land developers. I live in a fictional town called Austin, Texas, where I go to way too many meetings.
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