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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 February 15 - 21  > Nuclear emergency facility was useless in Fukushima nuclear accident
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2012 February 15 - 21 [NUCLEAR CRISIS]

Nuclear emergency facility was useless in Fukushima nuclear accident

February 20, 2012
An Off-Site Center, a facility to be used as a base of a nuclear emergency response, was found to be useless in the nuclear accident at the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Following a criticality accident at a JCO uranium processing plant in Tokai Village in Ibaraki Prefecture in 1999, nuclear emergency response operation facilities were built near nuclear power plants across Japan.

Fukushima’s Nuclear Off-Site Center is located in Okuma Town, 5 km from the crippled Fukushima NPP. When the major earthquake hit the Center on March 11, 2011, electricity was cut off and its emergency power system was also damaged. Only a satellite communication line was available. The Center was not equipped with an air filter. As a result, indoor radiation dose levels increased after the March 14 hydrogen explosion at the No. 3 reactor of the plant and all the staff had to leave the Center.

Citing a report concerning 20 off-site centers throughout the country compiled by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, Akahata criticized the fact that all the centers were insufficiently equipped.

According to the report, only the Higashidori NPP-affiliated off-site center in Aomori Prefecture has installed equipment to exclude the intrusion of radioactive substances. All 20 centers are equipped with emergency power systems, but some of them can provide power only for three hours.

Akahata argues that it is unrealistic to use off-site centers located in close proximity to NPPs for nuclear emergency response.

Behind the insufficient equipment and inappropriate locations, Akahata points out that past governments had such optimistic views regarding the dangers of nuclear accidents assuming that leakage of radioactive substances would be minimal and that no natural disasters such as earthquakes would occur simultaneously.
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