This is the newest issue related to nuclear plant restarts in Japan, volcanos. The Sendai nuclear plant sits near a fairly large active volcano as we explained here in the report The Real Risks At Sendai.
Reuters reports there are even more diverse volcano risks at Sendai than what we found. Again, scientists in Japan are raising serious concerns about these risks. These are getting largely ignored by the nuclear regulator in Japan.
What is even more disturbing is the TEPCO-esque mentality of the operator of the Sendai Nuclear Plant on the issue of volcano risks.
“In one model presented by Kyushu Electric, an eruption similar to one 12,000 years ago would cover the Sendai facility with 15 centimetres of ash and block roads. The utility said it would be able to clear the ash and Sendai could still function.”
“Kyushu Electric also said it would install new monitoring equipment around nearby calderas and develop plans to remove highly radioactive fuel to a safer site if the threat of an eruption is detected.”
Ash falls are known to take out power lines, generators, motors and pretty much anything that requires oxygen to cool or operate. Loss of power and generators was a considerable portion of the failures at Fukushima Daiichi. Moving nuclear fuel can sometimes take years. Fuel must sit in a spent fuel pool for about 5 years before it can be transferred to transit casks. One of the logistical challenges at Fukushima Daiichi is the sudden need for so many spent fuel storage casks to move older fuel to dry storage. The US nuclear operators are using the lack of casks as a reason to delay moving fuel from spent fuel pools to dry storage. Both of Kyushu’s excuses show a frightening lack of understanding of the potential situations involved at the plant.
While this is the perfect set up for a Hollywood disaster movie, the reality is all too real.
Image credit | Warner Bros
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