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NRA to correct more of its estimates - for the third time

November 8, 2012


NRA to fix radiation spread estimates again

The Nuclear Regulation Authority has said it will correct estimates on how far radioactive materials would spread if a severe accident happened at a nuclear power plant.

Misleading presentations by Kyushu Electric Power Co. led to wrong use of wind direction data in estimates for the firm's Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture and Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, the nuclear regulatory commission said.

The commission will correct its estimates, first released in late October, for the third time. The corrected version will be released Thursday.

The NRA secretariat said the directions in which radioactive materials are expected to spread from the two nuclear plants were 180 degrees off in the opposite direction.




November 7, 2012



More errors found in Japan nuclear regulatory body's accident projections




The Nuclear Regulation Authority said Tuesday it has found more errors in its recently announced projections for the spread of radiation from reactors in the event of a severe accident.


The errors surfaced about a week after the NRA had corrected simulation results for six nuclear power plants and Chairman Shunichi Tanaka had instructed the secretariat staff to make sure they would prevent a recurrence.

The latest errors were found in the projections for the Kyushu Electric Power Co. Genkai power plant in Saga Prefecture, and Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture. The NRA secretariat said wind direction data submitted by Kyushu Electric were in error.

Spokesman Hideka Morimoto, however, said the blame is on the secretariat and the Japan Nuclear Energy Safety Organization, which were tasked with creating the projections, because they relied on utilities to secure firsthand information and did not have sufficient checking functions on their own.

In Fukuoka, Kyushu Electric Executive Vice President Masanao Chinzei had to hold the obligatory news conference.

"We sincerely apologize for causing trouble" by providing the erroneous data, Chinzei said.

The simulation results were announced Oct. 24 to provide references for local governments to expand areas that should be subject to special preparations against nuclear disasters to 30 km from a facility.

It is the third time the NRA corrected the results. The authority revised part of its initial presentations immediately after announcing them Oct. 24.

As the current simulation results have limitations in that they do not take into account geological formations in areas around the plants, Morimoto said Tanaka also ordered the secretariat staff to swiftly develop an "advanced" version.

The NRA hopes to provide new projections that will be useful for local governments to craft nuclear disaster mitigation plans by March, Morimoto added.

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