Will the Nuclear Regulation Authority Still Allow Them to Operate?
Will the NRA ignore compliance with its new standards from day one by allowing the two currently operating nuclear reactors in Japan, Ohi Units 3 and 4 to continue to operate, thus setting the precedent for further non-compliance?
At issue is whether Japan has learned the lessons of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident and whether Japan’s nuclear power will really be “the safest in the world” as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe claims.
Japanese NGOs yesterday sent questions to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) through a House of Councillors Diet member demanding answers on whether the NRA intends to comply with its own new regulatory standards. The questions are to be answered by the Nuclear Regulatory Agency on Friday, 21 June. (See below for English translation of the questions and time/location of the meeting.)
The final results of the review on Ohi Units 3 and 4 concerning whether or not these two operating reactors will be allowed to operate after the new regulatory standards take effect will probably be announced at the weekly NRA meeting on Wednesday, 26 June. It has been reported that the NRA will approve the reactors’ continued operation until their scheduled outage in September.
Questions Concerning Compliance of Ohi Units 3 and 4 to New Regulatory Standards
To the Nuclear Regulation Authority:
1.Concerning the conference room located at Units 1 and 2 which is to serve as the earthquake-resistant control room for Ohi Units 3 and 4
The earthquake-resistant control room for Ohi Units 3 and 4 (maximum capacity 1000 persons) to be located on the south side of the intake outlet of the Ohi nuclear power plant site will only become operational in the autumn of 2015. In the meantime, Kansai Electric states that it will use a conference room located at the Unit 1 and 2 site.
（１）The conference room at the Unit 1 and 2 site which is to serve as the center for emergency operations in the event of an accident is located right next to Units 3 and 4. Isn’t this too close to be functional? Is it not correct that the earthquake-resistant control room should be located at some distance from the reactors?
（２）The conference room is approximately 105 square meters with capacity for 38 persons. The sole equipment to monitor the state of the Unit 3 and 4 reactors and other equipment under an emergency is one personal computer. Is this sufficient for full emergency response?
（３）The earthquake-resistant control room facility is to be completed around the autumn of 2015. Without such a facility in place, Ohi Units 3 and 4 do not meet the requirement under the new regulatory standard. Is that correct?
2.Concerning the Date of Sea-Wall (Tsunami Breakwater) Completion at Ohi Nuclear Power Plant Site
The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has stated that completion of a sea-wall (tsunami breakwater) is a prerequisite for applying to restart nuclear power plants.
The breakwater for the Ohi site is not scheduled for completion until March 2014. This means the Ohi plant site does not meet the requirement to apply for restart under the new regulatory standard. Is that correct?
3.Concerning the Investigation of the Shattered Zone (Earthquake Fault) Under the Ohi Nuclear Power Plant
The Nuclear Regulation Authority( NRA) states that nuclear power plant sites currently undergoing investigation of their shattered zones (earthquake faults) are required to have their investigation completed (conclusion reached) before they can apply for permission to restart.
The Ohi F-6 shattered zone (earthquake fault) on-site investigation is still on-going and experts undertaking the investigation have not reached a conclusion. Because of this, is it correct that Ohi does not meet the new safety regulation?
4.Concerning Vent with Filter
The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) states that for PWR’s, completion of a vent with filter is a prerequisite for applying for restarts.
The vent with filter at the Ohi plant will be completed in March of 2016. Because of this, Ohi does not meet the new regulatory standards. Is that correct?
5.Concerning Basic Earthquake Ground Motion
The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has sought that Kansai Electric “establish a earthquake motion based on 3 earthquake faults interacting.” However, Kansai Electric continues to use as reference the basic earthquake ground motion based on 2 earthquake faults interacting and stated a 3-earthquake fault analysis was only “just in case.” The utility came out with a new (self-created) category called “earthquake ground motion for the purpose of the review.”
Since Kansai Electric refuses to meet the demand of the Nuclear Regulation Authority to establish a basic earthquake ground motion based on a 3-earthquake fault interaction, this means it does not meet the new regulatory standards. Is that correct?
6.The Ohi Nuclear Power Plant Units 3 & 4 do not meet the new regulatory standards, the NRA should therefore require them to be shut down
It cannot be said that the Ohi nuclear power plant meets the new regulatory standards when it does not even meet the demands made by the NRA as indicated above. Because of this, should not the NRA demand that the Ohi Nuclear Power Plant site immediately cease operations?
The above questions were submitted by:
Lawsuit Group to Shut Down the Ohi Nuclear Power Plant
The Nuclear Regulation Authority Citizen Watchdog
For Japanese original of questions see:
Download: Japan’s Two Operating Reactors won’t meet New Post-Fukushima Standards
Will the Nuclear Regulation Authority Still Allow Them to Operate? (PDF)