Tokyo Electric Power Company has revised its estimated size of the earthquake and tsunami that hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
This is the third upward revision of tsunami’s scale since it disabled emergency power generators and heat removal pumps at Fukushima Daiichi on 11 March. The loss of these systems left units 1, 2 and 3 in severe trouble that has only stabilised after the write-off of the reactors, which are now being cooled by seawater injection. Some used fuel ponds at the site remain a serious concern and spraying to maintain water levels is ongoing.
In early statements, Tepco had said the tsunami was at least seven metres high. Later the company increased its estimate to ten metres at the Daiichi plant and 12 metres at Daini. Today’s figures describe a 14-metre tsunami at both plants. By regulation, the Daiichi plant was fully prepared for a tsunami of up to 5.7 metres. At Daini, ten kilometres along the coast, the design basis was 5.2 metres.
via Fukushima faced 14-metre tsunami.
Comment: While there is no immediate reason to doubt this, it should perhaps be pointed out that the larger the tsunami wave, the less blame can be ascribed to TEPCO: “It was just so huge! How could anyone have predicted it?”
A recent article gives some perspective to this “14-metre” tsunami story which seems to partially exonerate TEPCO.
1) A researcher said Saturday he had warned two years ago about the possible risk of a massive tsunami hitting a nuclear power plant in Japan, but Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant crippled by the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami, had brushed off the warning.
Okamura had warned in 2009 of massive tsunami based on his study since around 2004 of the traces of a major tsunami believed to have swept away about a thousand people in the year 869 after a magnitude 8.3 quake off northeastern Japan.
He had found in his research that tsunami from the ancient quake had hit a wide range of the coastal regions of northeastern Japan, at least as far north as Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture and as far south as the town of Namie in Fukushima Prefecture — close to the Fukushima Daiichi plant — penetrating as much as 3 to 4 kilometers inland.
via Kyodo News: Researcher warned 2 yrs ago of massive tsunami striking nuke plant
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