Water leaks out of Tokai nuclear reactor

TOKYO —

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said Wednesday that a water leak had been found in the pressure vessel of a nuclear reactor at Japan Atomic Power Co’s Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant in Ibaraki Prefecture, but said no radioactive substances had been leaked into the environment.

According to Jiji Press, plant workers heard an alarm sound at 10:20 a.m. They found water coming from a pipe at the bottom of the pressure vessel into an outer container. Japan Atomic Power Co said 22.4 tons of water leaked out and said the problem was caused by a loose pipe junction, Jiji reported. 

The Tokai No. 2 reactor has been suspended for inspection and stress tests since the March 11 disaster, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.

Japan Today

  • 2

    some14some

    but said no radioactive substances had been leaked into the environment.

    Yeah, water leaked from Nuclear Power Plant was as good as pure mineral water :(

  • 1

    cactusJack

    And I am positive it will pass the stress test with flying colors.

  • 3

    zichi

    The people living near and around the Tokai nuclear power plant are calling for it's permanent shutdown. That is a powerful message, since it would also mean that most of them will be put out of work, since they are employed by the plant. But that's no longer enough for them to want to keep the plant open.

  • 1

    SquidBert

    A couple of weeks ago the mayor of Tokai Mura, has asked the minister Hosono to shut down the Tokai reactor no 2.

    Reported in Japan Atomic Industrial Forums news letter. http://www.jaif.or.jp/english/newsimages/pdf/ENGNEWS011318403487P.pdf

    -

    The mayor of Tokai Village, north of Tokyo, has called on the government to decommission a nuclear reactor at a local power plant. Tatsuya Murakami met the minister in charge of the nuclear crisis, Goshi Hosono, in Tokyo on Tuesday to discuss the Tokai Daini plant, located about 110 kilometers from Tokyo.

    -

    Murakami said the reactor is more than 30 years old, and that the public has lost confidence in the government's nuclear safety body. He said he cannot consent to a resumption of the plant's operations. Hosono responded that he will consider the mayor's valuable suggestion

    -

  • 2

    Riffraff

    It might be time for a better detection system for leaks also, according to the article, the alarm did not sound until 22.4 tons of water had leaked..... and that is a lot of water.

  • 1

    SquidBert

    I meant to continue that post for a bit longer, but got a bit trigger happy and mistakenly clicked submit.

    What I also wanted say was:

    I think it is interesting, politically, that Tokai Mura which has traditionally been very supportive of the Nuclear Village now actually stands up and make their voice heard against the governmental nuclear organisation. The critically incident that took place in Tokai Mura a number of years ago probably also played its part destroying the confidence of the village.

  • 1

    zichi

    There are 54 nuclear reactors. Two are under construction and another 12 in the planning stage.

    Out of 48 reactors (minus the ones at Fukushima) 15 are 30-years-old, or just reaching that mark. The 30 year life span is the accepted one but power companies can apply for a 10 year extension. The power companies want the extension because it generates pure profits from the plant.

    Some of the reactors at Fukushima are almost 40 years old and would have been shut down very soon. Sad, isn't it?

    All reactors which are older than 30 years should be shut down immediately.

  • 1

    SquidBert

    Some of the reactors at Fukushima are almost 40 years old and would have been shut down very soon. Sad, isn't it?

    Indeed.

    All reactors which are older than 30 years should be shut down immediately.

    This is my feeling as well, it seems that Japan can manage just fine with 33 reactors left, until alternatives can be found.

  • 1

    zichi

    Squidbert,

    following 3/11 only 18 reactors were operational and we all survived the hot summer without outages. That number is now about 10 working reactors. On the same course all reactors will be shut down by next year. But I expect some pressure will be put on prefecture governors to restart some of them?

  • 1

    SquidBert

    zichi,

    Yes, that is my point. 33 reactors is more than enough for Japan right now. Some will always be shut down due to maintenance etc. I too think there will be pressure but on governors to restart some of them.

    During the time develop green alternatives, as we see already beginning to happen. Alternatives need to be up and running and ready to replace the running reactors as they are aging and being decomissioned. And in the long term they also need to replace fossil fuels. Japan has it's work cut out for it, but I am sure she can do it, people just have to show their politicians clearly what they want from them, to give them their votes.

  • 2

    Christina O'Neill

    Zichi, Thankyou very much for your posts, they are very informative.Lets hope the local people win in regards to the shutdowns and that their dedication will ensure Prefecture Governers do not bow to pressure from any other source. The leaks and other faults from these aging reactors are proving they are well past their sell by date. Hopefully eco alternatives will be established to replace them

  • 2

    Elbuda Mexicano

    A loose pipe?? Bastards! These people working at these nuclear power plants have some lose pipes and loose wires in their little brains! And the Tokai area is forseen to have the NEXT HUGE EARTHQUAKE by the Japanese and world wide experts!

  • 1

    SquidBert

    @Elbuda,

    Well actually, Tokai Mura and Tokai area are not the same. (its confusing, I know)

    Still Tokai Mura got hit pretty bad by the big EQ in march (considering how far away it was from epicenter).

  • 1

    jforce

    Tokai Mura has a mini meltdown about 6 years ago if I do recall. Talk about playing with fire... Tokai, Fukushima, Tokai mura... oh my.

  • 1

    YongYang

    After been knock off their perch of &Worst Japanese Nuclear Accident& in MArch, maybe they are vying to gt back to top spot? A re-run of 1999 would see them on their way. What a fiasco. nearly 23 tons of water....

  • 1

    CrazyJoe

    22.4 tons of water in a few hours, do you call this a leak?

  • 3

    Harry_Gatto

    "Seeping"? 22.4 tons! Some seep. Bad choice of word, someone needs to look up the meaning of the word seep or seeping.

  • 1

    SquidBert

    jforce

    Tokai Mura has a mini meltdown about 6 years

    The Tokai Mura criticallity incident (they don't like to call it an accident for some reason) of 1999 was not at the Tokai Mura NPP facility. That took place at the JCO Reprocessing plant at the other(inland) end of town.

    Still the nuclear village's finest doing their impeccable work. This also proves the point that I have been trying to make here multiple times. It doesn't matter how safe you make nuclear power plants. Nature and Humans will always find a way to mess it up.

  • 2

    electric2004

    Squidbert:

    Your post with the link is helpful, but it needs a correction:

    http://www.jaif.or.jp/english/news_images/pdf/ENGNEWS01_1318403487P.pdf

  • 1

    SquidBert

    @electric2004

    Thank you!

  • 1

    Pukey2

    Weren't there previous scares at this place? I recall something happening a few years back. Also, something about workers using buckets.

  • 2

    BurakuminDes

    Not looking good folks. I don't know exactly where this Tokai joint is, but I understand they have had a litany of problems in the past. Wouldn't blame the residents for telling the N-workers to go to hell!

  • 1

    SquidBert

    @Pukey2

    Same village(Tokai Mura) , different facility( reprocessing vs nuclear power plant), different owner (JCO vs JAP). All under the same governmental watch dog organizations.

  • 3

    gogogo

    Why isn't the government investigating the nuclear industries in Japan? Their should be NO accidents and no mistakes when your dealing with this type of stuff.

  • 1

    SquidBert

    @BurakuminDes

    It's on the coast, about half way between Tokyo and the Fukushima NPP. Close to Hitachi and Mito

  • 2

    badmigraine

    The usual layer upon layer of deception and coded wording. 22.4 tons as "seepage" is an obvious boner. But look at this one: "...no radioactive substances have been leaked into the environment".

    What they mean is, the water is radioactive and it leaked out of the containment vessel into the "outer container". All that means is that radioactive water didn't (yet) soak into the ground. Some things to wonder: how much water can the outer container hold before it slops over into "the environment"? And, isn't it childish the way these reports quickly rush to assure us that the environment is OK? The main point is, a nuclear reactor leaked a huge amount of radioactive water out of its containment vessel, and that sure as hell is not supposed to happen. What is going on there? Why is this super-secret? It should be transparent, public information.

  • 1

    BurakuminDes

    @SquidBert - thanks

  • 1

    The Munya Times

    @some14some

    Yeah, water leaked from Nuclear Power Plant was as good as pure mineral water :(

    Oh please, be silent, you are just giving them ideas. If they read your post they will bottle that sh@t and sell it as natural medicinal mineral water.

    Many times when I commented Fukushima I was cursed out from this board when I sad all Japanese NPPs are defective, fossilizing piece or rotten junks and that I expect 4 major NPP disasters in Japan in the very next future.

  • -1

    marcelito

    I sure hope Tokai reactor doesn,t get restarted. Ibaraki shimbun ran a front page article last week showing that there are almost 1million people living within a 30km radius from it ( myself included ) . It is also the oldest reactor in Japan if I,m not mistaken,,,,Don,t want to imagine the nightmare if there is another big quake in Ibaraki and it has a meltdown similar to Daiichi..

  • 0

    SquidBert

    Some information gathered from other news sites. I don't remember exactly where each piece of information is coming from, so no reference given.

    No fuel in the reactor, it has been removed for maintenance.

    Leak was due to a pipe fitting (mistakenly ) being loosened in the work to save the reactor during earth quake/tsunami

    4 workers touched the water, and got a external radiation dose of 0.7 something milli Sievert. (Some one correct me on this, if I am wrong)

    The 22 tons seeped? out during something like three hours. This is one hell of a seep, I would say.

    I would also like to mention that lots of unrelated interesting nuclear physics research is being done in Tokai Mura, and I would hate for it to be adversely affected. But realistically, I guess governmental funding will dry up, if nuclear power is not being generated.

  • 1

    zichi

    Are Tokai plant engineers, technicians and operators using properly complied instruction manuals? Unlike the disaster manual TEPCO had for Fukushima?

  • 0

    zichi

    my PT woke up again?

  • 1

    SquidBert

    @zichi,

    It seems they are trying to put this down as human error. The thing is humans will always commit error, and nuclear power plant designs are not (and never will be) totally fool proof. In fact if someone tells me that they constructed a totally fool proof anything, my answer would be that they have just underestimated the tenacity and capability of the total fool (which could be any human).

  • 2

    zichi

    SquidBert,

    yes human error, just like Chernobyl and Three Mile Island?

    The greatest human error was to build any nuclear power plants but especially in a country like Japan with it's history riddled by powerful earthquakes and tsunami's?

  • -1

    techall

    Never fear, THE FRENCH ARE ON THE WAY!

  • 1

    electric2004

    Squidbert:

    Thank you for the background information.

    This week in the Yomiuri newspaper was some kind of review report about the Tokai 2 nuclear plant short after the earthquake and the tsunami. Seems the power plant survived and was brought to a cold shutdown, because the owner of the plant, different than TEPCO was listening to advice from experts and had increased the height of the flood protection barrier in time. Still the water came up to 30 cm below the upper edge, so the margin for safety was quite small.

    The research you are talking about is going on at J-PARC. Half belonging to JAEA and half to the laboratory KEK from Tsukuba. There is an external Tsukuba campus at J-PARC. Part of the research is with Neutrons for material and life sciences (this is related to JAEA), and another part is Neutrinos send to Kamiokande. Also there is Hadron research. However, J-PARC suffered quite some damage due to the earthquake so the repair took time and is still ongoing. If I understand the information correctly, J-PARC will try to restart operation in middle of December.

    marcelito:

    I also read this information about the extended evacuation zone (in the Yomiuri). The most important thing it tells me, is not to build or buy a house in this zone.

  • 1

    nandakandamanda

    I beleive they opened the wrong sluice gate.

  • 1

    nandakandamanda

    I believe they opened the wrong sluice gate, and much of the water came from the used fuel rod pool, which they quickly had to refill.

  • 1

    nandakandamanda

    Apologies, the JT posting system seems 'sticky' today somehow...

    but I meant to say that the above info came from J news sites.

  • 2

    Farmboy

    This is probably in a training manual somewhere:

    The mantra, "no radioactive substances have been released " should follow every leak. One week after the leak, we let the people how much was really realeased, unless it's really high, in which case we wait longer. This is then followed by, "such an amount will have no immmediate effect on health." It's best to keep these releases at least two months apart, however, since if not, people start to remember that they've heard these phrases before.

  • 1

    NeoJamal

    Yeah I remember Tokai Village Plant, gave me the chills 12 years ago, I think the reason was some guy putting fission material in a domestic cleaning bucket?

  • -2

    overchan

    Nothing weird here. I'm a plumber myself. I use to install pipes of all diameters including welded ones. sometimes seals fail, all countries have the same issues. good thing that it wasnt that much water.

  • 2

    nandakandamanda

    水には880万ベクレルの放射性物質が含まれ、作業員4人が汚染水を浴びたが、全員が防護服と全面マスクを着用しており、漏水による被曝(ひばく)はなかった。定期検査中のため、圧力容器に核燃料棒はなかった。県庁で記者会見した同発電所渉外・報道グループの村岡清一マネージャーは「使用済み燃料プールとつながっている水が漏えいしたことを非常に重く受け止めており、ハード面とソフト面の両方で原因を究明し、再発防止策を講じたい」と話した。 Quote from the Yomiuri of yesterday.

    They opened the wrong pipe and it flowed for four hours leaking twenty-two tons of water containing radioactive material of 8,800,000 becquerels. It poured over the four men, but since they were wearing protective clothing they were fine. Mr Muraoka the plant publicity officer said 'We take this very seriously, especially as the leaking water was being drawn directly from the used fuel rod pool. We will be looking at this from both the hard and soft aspects, and working on making sure this will never happen again."

  • 2

    zichi

    All reactors older than 30-years should be shut down also the Hamaoka nuclear power plant should not be restarted. The Monju fast breeder should also be shut down. To date the Monju plant has cost ¥1.7 trillion and only managed to generate 60 minutes of power.

    Nuclear power plants which are shut down, can be converted to use another fuel like gas, biomass, ethernol. The turbines are expensive to build but will be good for a 100 years.

  • 2

    The Munya Times

    They opened the wrong pipe and it flowed for four hours leaking twenty-two tons of water containing radioactive material of 8,800,000 becquerels.

    I always knew and said on this board that those guys are unqualified under-trained operators and work from manuals, but I hoped at least they can read the manuals.

    I didn't care about other posters calling me dumb about my posts, but now I do care about them operators who are really nuts and all my bad predictions are coming true one by one. I wish I were wrong.

  • 2

    electric2004

    Munya:

    A wise person once said, there exist no dumb questions, only silly answers.

    So don't worry too much, if others say something negative about your posts.

  • 0

    The Munya Times

    @electric2004Oct. 27, 2011 - 11:24PM JST

    Thanks for your support, actually I think it is helpful to all of us as JT posters are not always very supportive toward each others.

    One more thing about the unqualified staff just came to my mind, it is difficult to draw a parallel between different cases and cause and effect in the different segments of the industry, but for years I read in the news that more and more highly qualified engineers, experts leave Japan to get better jobs in China, Korea, thus not only leaving Japan without knowledgeable experts but also transferring all know-how to potential competitors.

    Now, I have neither detailed information nor insight on why such critical segments of the energy industry don't employ more highly qualified engineers and nuclear experts but I do believe that employing more of them could be one step toward safety. Also, as it was discussed earlier, even when there are a few ones of them, they never venture to go against the wind in the face of the management and they remain silent about the serious problems in the NPPs, unless they want to lose their jobs.

  • -1

    zichi

    The Munya Times,

    I actually find your statement, about unqualified workers, very difficult to accept. I can only draw on my own industrial experience has an electrical engineer in the heavy chemical industry.

    There are thousands of highly trained nuclear engineers and technicians and highly skilled operatives working at nuclear power plants.

    When working at a very complex plant like a nuclear power plant it would be the norm to be working from a manual.

    I had to do the same when working at heavy chemical plants. There are procedures which need to be followed. I can't comment directly what happened at the Tokai plant because I wasn't there, and I don't have the facts. But it's not good when something like that happens.

  • 0

    The Munya Times

    @zichi

    You are being a man of high technical qualification and me having a different qualification educational background, we tend to view this question from different angle.

    You from the point of an engineer, while I normally tend to consider the human part, human errors, mismanagement, HR management, even psychological aspects. My post came after I read many articles from trusted sources about the lack of prepared engineers, also shocking accounts from retired NPP engineers here (with photos) speaking out how they regret that they backed down before the management instead of fighting for bigger budget to secure safety measures etc. I posted it as my opinion although it was a not far-fetched view on this issue.

    When working at a very complex plant like a nuclear power plant it would be the norm to be working from a manual.

    I don't like it that way, it doesn't work that way. I mean I know what you stated it is true and has to be like that, but I might ask "look at those men who read those manuals"

    The manual is not for telling what to do, it is to tell how to do and to guide trough the process to secure all detailed information that no one can tell by heart.

    I personally found that Japanese in general not very good at learning and memorizing/understanding but they are very good at knowing where and how to search and find the information. I always envied them for this capabilities. But once the information has found, do they really know how to use it, does it really give them the clue?

    As you said you are a bit elderly and probably you had a different educational background, less theoretic, more practical. In the old days undergraduates were taught to create their own construction of knowledge on their own, to build their own general ideas, were taught basic things and no one taught them how to handle specific problems one by one.

    I these days, especially in Japan, undergraduates are rather trained than educated, they rather know, "push this button here, click here when the reading is this and this" .

    I had my own students in Japan to tech them my own mother language (not English). They couldn't really say a simple sentence yet they already had TOEIC over 650. I asked them how they did it , they said that's a same for all, they have a special technique to solve the written tests, in most cases even when they have no idea about what it is etc. and it was language where they failed with the oral exam. I have no idea how those people who work at critical places go through the company's own aptitude test.

  • 0

    The Munya Times

    amendment

    You are being a man of high technical qualification = You are a man of high technical qualification

  • -2

    zichi

    The Munya Times

    I was trained many decades ago, in fact in the '60's. I was also trained in both hands on experience and academic learning at technical colleges and university. But that is still happening today.

    I ask you if you think there are a lack of skilled engineers, who do you think build these complex plants in the first place? In many cases, and especially one that can take years to build, many of those initial installation engineers stay on because no one knows the plant better than they do. Each one of these kinds of plant are unique, not like car production line. Parts are especially made and frequent adjustments are made to make them fit. It's a hands on job.

    The manuals are for procedures, the order something must be done in, otherwise deadly mistakes will happen.

    There are times when we may be forced into doing something we may not agree with or think its not safe. I always refused to carry out any work I didn't think was safe. But an engineer with a family, a mortgage, monthly car payments, may not do that because if he does he may never work as an engineer again. I know from articles I have read from retired engineers from the Fukushima plant that it happened. But TEPCO is a very bad company in just about every dept.

    There was a crack in the No3 reactor which wasn't reported to the government because it would have meant replacing a major part of the reactor vessel. When No4 reactor was made there was distortion because it was cooled too quickly. It would have cost billions to build another one, so the company doing the work just changed the drawings so no one would notice. 20 or so years after No4 reactor went into service one of the workers reported it to the government, who didn't believe him or took no action.

    I just want to say, there are many capable and trained engineers who know how to think and work problems out for themselves. There are many more problems at management level. The people who work at the TEPCO HQ don't even know how a nuclear plant works. In nuclear power companies, at least some of the executives need to be highly qualified engineers first.

  • 0

    The Munya Times

    I ask you if you think there are a lack of skilled engineers, who do you think build these complex plants in the first place?

    Of course still there are highly trained, experienced engineers today, (in my previous post I said there are and they are leaving Japan) but it's a different thing to build a NPP or a highly automatized car production line, and then to operate it.

    Fukushima was design by an American company and built by Japanese companies, I saw the archive even the Shinto priest was assisting with rituals at the construction site. Then it has become functional and highly automatized and the employers are not in the mood to pay for the expensive labour, as they have the trust in the mechanism, they try to run it with cheaper workforce even when the profit would make greater number of highly qualified employees affordable.

    The same goes on in almost every segments of the industry and the highly qualified engineers and experts who remained in employment have to work 12-14 hours a day mostly unpaid overtime. And they leave. It just won't work out that way.

    I just want to say, there are many capable and trained engineers who know how to think and work problems out for themselves. There are many more problems at management level. The people who work at the TEPCO HQ don't even know how a nuclear plant works. In nuclear power companies, at least some of the executives need to be highly qualified engineers first.

    That's the point, agreed, we are saying the same thing though I think their number is decreasing. Let them work, let them speak out.

  • 0

    zichi

    Engineers are leaving Japan.

    Unless you have figures, I will doubt there are any large number of engineers leaving Japan. It's difficult even for a very experienced engineer to work in another country unless it is an over seas project for the same company. There are qualification and license problems. With Japanese, there's also the problems of language.

    Fukushima No1 reactor plant was designed by General Electric of America. The other five reactors were built by GE and Toshiba or Hitachi. Other power plants like Tokai were built by Japanese companies.

    " I saw the archive even the Shinto priest was assisting with rituals at the construction site. "

    I don't know what that has to do with anything? That happens with nearly every new building construction including private homes. Many people when they buy a new car have it blessed, or something, by a Shinto priest.

    Engineers are always well paid just to keep them. The highest pay is in the nuclear industry.

    " work 12-14 hours a day mostly unpaid overtime."

    The law requires payment for all overtime. Engineers know how to take good care of themselves. There's actually a lot of down time when nothing is happening. I know many Japanese engineers who never work the hours you have stated. But in an emergency or when there's a loss of plant, sometimes engineers will work 24 to 36 hours non stop. It goes with the job.

  • -2

    zichi

    The Munya Times,

    If there's a big reduction in the number of nuclear power plants, recently the Fujitsu Research Institute "ran a model" which showed nuclear power down from the current level, 27% to about 17% by 2020, then there could be nuclear engineers leaving the country.

    The likely country of destination would be China which needs 6,000 new workers every year and can not find those from within its own workforce.

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