Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Weekly Review

A worker's error at Japan's sole operating nuclear plant and another outlay from a government compensation fund highlighted the news surrounding Fukushima Daiichi this week.

Recent developments related to the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant blacked out following Japan's 2011 earthquake and tsunami include:

Error at Ohi Plant Draws Scrutiny

A worker at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Ohi unit 3 accidently disabled one of two emergency DC power supplies to the reactor Wednesday, Jiji Press reported. The Nuclear Regulation Authority attributed the violation of safety rules to human error. While the redundant emergency power system was offline for only one minute, the incident was bad news for Japanese utilities that face widespread opposition to nuclear power following the accidents at Fukushima. Restarted in July, units 3 and 4 at Ohi are the only reactors operating in the country, as other plants sit idle waiting for completion of new safety regulations and government approvals.

Fukushima unit 3 control room. Source: TEPCOTEPCO Receives Another $7.4 Billion for Compensation

On Monday, the Japanese government announced it will provide another $7.4 billion from the Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund for TEPCO to pay claims to people displaced by the nuclear accidents, Kyodo reported. That will bring the total government transfers from the fund to $32 billion – money that is separate from a government investment used to effectively nationalize the company last year.

Investigator Accuses TEPCO of Lying During Earthquake Damage Inspection

The head of on-site inspections for the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission has said that TEPCO misinformed him about conditions inside unit 1 to discourage an inspection of its inoperable isolation condensers, the Asahi Shimbun reported. He had sought to determine if the critical safety components were disabled by the earthquake and before the damage caused by the overheating reactor, which TEPCO denies. If the isolation condensers were found to be susceptible to quake damage, it would inform new safety regulations currently being written. The inspector told Japanese legislators on Thursday that TEPCO discouraged him from inspecting isolation condenser tanks and piping because the building's darkness would make it unsafe, when in fact the area in question was well lit by lights in a structure erected to cover the unit.

Photo: A worker in the unit 3 control room on March 22, 2011. This image is among hundreds released by TEPCO Feb. 1 that were taken by workers and others on-site early in the crisis.

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