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Genkai nuclear plant shows weaknesses in emergency response

September 21, 2013


Weakness detected in emergency response system at Genkai Nuclear Power Plant



The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) on Sept. 19 singled out insufficiencies in the emergency response system of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.'s Genkai Nuclear Power Plant in Saga Prefecture.

The insufficiencies, which were specified during a safety review meeting held to discuss the restart of idled nuclear reactors, centered on power supply equipment for a key quake-resistant building.

The NRA pointed out that the problem could compromise efforts to bring the reactors under control in the event of an accident -- and called for measures to be taken accordingly.

The reactors' emergency electrical generators and power switchboards are located in the same position as those at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, which was inundated with seawater from the March 2011 tsunami, resulting in a total loss of power and core meltdowns.

The government and the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission have pointed out inadequacies in measures to deal with the potential loss of power. Consequently, new regulatory standards have been implemented for key facilities and equipment, wherein it is specified that several electricity routes must be secured.

Kyushu Electric Power Co. has announced that it will construct alternate facilities to be utilized until the main quake-resistant building is completed in fiscal 2015. On the day that the safety review was held, however, it was noted that only one electricity route existed to connect the alternate facility with emergency generators -- and that the emergency response equipment could fail if the electricity route were cut off.

"No matter how many emergency generators you supplied, it would be meaningless," an NRA representative commented.

The power company said that it would be looking into rectifying the matter.

September 21, 2013(Mainichi Japan)

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