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On the 11th of March 2011, Japan faced its worst of the decade in the Fukushima

Daiichi nuclear accident. Going through the resources, I found some of the
causes of this accident that may give us an idea on what actually went wrong.
On the day engineers executed a preprogrammed response and began to drive
all of the long control rods into the three reactors that were currently operating
at the site. The control rods caused each generation of fission to produce fewer
neutrons and fewer fission reactions. In three minutes the reactors were making
10% of their rated power from fission; in six minutes they were making 1%, and
within by ten minutes nuclear fission as a source of heat had ended in the first
three units at Fukushima Daiichi. But there was one more thing other than the
fission reaction which is the decay heat. Decay heat defined as fission products
producing significant amounts of heat and unlike fission, produced by fission
products that its generation cant be turned off. To remove the heat, todays
reactors have an abundance of safety systems, all of which have the same
missionkeep removing decay heat from the nuclear fuel. As the reactors at
Fukushima-Daiichi cooled down, the tsunami hit.
The tsunami destroyed the diesel generators that provide power to drive the
pumps that circulate the water coolant through the reactor that removes decay
heat. Without an active removal of decay heat, the reactor was adding heat to
the water faster than it was taking it out, and the temperature was rising.
Because this was a reactor that operated on water that was already at its boiling
point, this also meant that the pressure inside the reactor was rising as well. The
water in the reactor was overheated causing it to split into its components,
hydrogen and oxygen. It was only a matter of time before the hydrogen reached
a level where it would detonate, and one after another, the first unit, then the
third unit, and finally the second unit, suffered hydrogen explosions that blew off
the steel panels and left the top of the reactor building exposed.
The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission made a
sum up from the accidents and pointed out a few errors that made the disaster
to be rated as manmade disaster. The report found that the plant was
incapable of withstanding the earthquake and tsunami. TEPCO, regulators
Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) and NSC and the government body
promoting the nuclear power industry (METI), all failed to meet the most basic
safety requirements, such as assessing the probability of damage, preparing for
containing collateral damage from such a disaster, and developing evacuation
plans. If the utility and the regulators knew that the reactors at Fukushima
wouldn't stand up to the double hit, why didn't they make safety improvements?
The report points out that the Japanese agencies responsible for overseeing
nuclear plant safety were housed in the same department as the agency that's
responsible for promoting the benefits of the nuclear industry. The Japanese
utility, known as TEPCO, dragged its feet on safety improvements because it
would interfere with plant operations. One huge failure: there were no plans to
evacuate thousands of nearby people who could be endangered if case of a
major radiation leak. A separate study found that Japanese plants operated by

the largest utility companies were particularly unprotected against potential


tsunamis.
REFERENCES
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_nuclear_disaster
http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2011/03/15/explainer-what-caused-theincident-at-fukushima-daiichi/
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/07/05/156295055/report-bad-procedures-causedthe-fukushima-nuclear-disaster