• 15 mins Kuwait Greenlights Game-Changing Gas Fields Project After Years of Delay
  • 45 mins Minnesota Begins Public Hearings On Enbridge Line 3 Project
  • 1 hour China Looks To Create National Natural Gas Pipeline Firm
  • 2 hours Total Not In A Rush To Sell Canadian Oil Sands Assets
  • 2 hours DOE Seeks To Boost Usage Of Carbon Capture Tech
  • 3 hours Taxpayers Likely To Pick Up The Growing Tab For DAPL Protests
  • 6 hours WTI At 7-Month High On Supply Optimism, Kurdistan Referendum
  • 12 hours Permian Still Holds 60-70 Billion Barrels Of Recoverable Oil
  • 17 hours Petrobras Creditors Agree To $6.22 Billion Debt Swap
  • 21 hours Cracks Emerge In OPEC-Russia Oil Output Cut Pact
  • 1 day Iran Calls On OPEC To Sway Libya, Nigeria To Join Cut
  • 1 day Chevron To Invest $4B In Permian Production
  • 1 day U.S.-Backed Forces Retake Syrian Conoco Gas Plant From ISIS
  • 1 day Iraq Says Shell May Not Quit Majnoon Oilfield
  • 4 days Nigerian Oil Output Below 1.8 Million BPD Quota
  • 4 days Colorado Landfills Contain Radioactive Substances From Oil Sector
  • 4 days Phillips 66 Partners To Buy Phillips 66 Assets In $2.4B Deal
  • 4 days Japan Court Slams Tepco With Fukushima Damages Bill
  • 4 days Oil Spills From Pipeline After Syria Army Retakes Oil Field From ISIS
  • 4 days Total Joins Chevron In Gulf Of Mexico Development
  • 4 days Goldman Chief Urges Riyadh To Get Vision 2030 Going
  • 4 days OPEC Talks End Without Recommendation On Output Cut Extension
  • 5 days Jamaican Refinery Expansion Stalls Due To Venezuela’s Financial Woes
  • 5 days India In Talks to Acquire 20 Percent Of UAE Oilfield
  • 5 days The Real Cause Of Peak Gasoline Demand
  • 5 days Hundreds Of Vertical Oil Wells Damaged By Horizontal Fracking
  • 5 days Oil Exempt In Fresh Sanctions On North Korea
  • 5 days Sudan, South Sudan Sign Deal To Boost Oil Output
  • 5 days Peruvian Villagers Shut Down 50 Oil Wells In Protest
  • 5 days Bay Area Sues Big Oil For Billions
  • 6 days Lukoil Looks To Sell Italian Refinery As Crimea Sanctions Intensify
  • 6 days Kurdistan’s Biggest Source Of Oil Funds
  • 6 days Oil Prices On Track For Largest Q3 Gain Since 2004
  • 6 days Reliance Plans To Boost Capacity Of World’s Biggest Oil Refinery
  • 6 days Saudi Aramco May Unveil Financials In Early 2018
  • 6 days Has The EIA Been Overestimating Oil Production?
  • 6 days Taiwan Cuts Off Fossil Fuels To North Korea
  • 6 days Clash In Oil-Rich South Sudan Region Kills At Least 25
  • 6 days Lebanon Passes Oil Taxation Law Ahead Of First Licensing Auction
  • 7 days India’s Oil Majors To Lift Borrowing To Cover Dividends, Capex
Have Oil Markets Reached A Turning Point?

Have Oil Markets Reached A Turning Point?

Oil prices hit their highest…

Goldman Turns Bullish On European Oil Majors

Goldman Turns Bullish On European Oil Majors

Goldman Sachs has raised its…

Tepco Removed Natural Seawall that Would Have Protected Daiichi Facility

It turns out that when constructing the Daiichi nuclear power plant at Fukushima over 40 years ago, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) made one bad decision that resulted in the meltdown of three reactors after the earthquake and tsunami that struck the prefecture in 2011.

Official documents filed with Japanese authorities in 1967, show that when working on the construction of the new nuclear power plant, Tepco decided to reduce the natural, 35-metre seawall to just ten metres in height. A decision that left the facility vulnerable to the 14-15 metre tsunami that struck in March 2011.

Fukushima Daiichi Seawall
A diagram showing the height of the 2011 tsunami (15 metres), the current sea wall elevation (10 metres), and the existing seawall elevation (35 metres).

When making the decision it had been agreed that typhoons, at no more than eight metres in height, were the biggest threat, and therefore leaving a ten metre seawall would be sufficient protection. “Most large waves in this coastal area are the product of strong winds and low pressure weather patterns, such as Typhoon No. 28 in February of 1960, which produced peak waves measured at 7.94 meters.”

Related article: UK Reviving European Nuclear Energy at High Costs

Masatoshi Toyota, an 88 year old, former executive at Tepco who was part of the decision making team back in 1967, explained that the decision was made based on two lines of reason. One, that reducing the cliff by 25 metres would make it much easier to deliver heavy equipment to the site, which was mostly delivered by sea; and two, that it was much easier to access sea water to cool the reactors from 10 metres above sea level, compared to 35 metres.

Mr. Toyota spoke to the Wall Street Journal to say that “it would have been a very difficult and major engineering task to lift all that equipment up over the cliff. For similar reasons, we figured it would have been a major endeavor to pump up seawater from a plateau 35 meters above sea level.”

Although not as commonly known, due to the fact that nothing happened, the Daiichi nuclear power plant is not the only facility along the Fukushima coastline. In the 1970s the Daini and Onagawa nuclear power plants were also built, however the seawalls were not destroyed here. When the massive earthquake and tsunami struck in March they were both able to achieve cold shutdowns, and no damage was suffered at either site.

The Wall Street Journal explained that the primary reason that neither of these plants were unharmed, was due to their higher elevations on top of the cliff.

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News