It is not bad enough the nuclear plant at Fukushima is going through all its problems, but incredible small human errors continue to crop up. Take the accidentally shutting off the cooling pumps as the latest example.
The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant said pumps used to inject water to cool damaged reactors suffered a power failure, but a backup system kicked in immediately.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority said a worker conducting system inspections mistakenly pushed a button turning off power to some of the systems in the four reactor buildings at the Fukushima plant.
The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco), pours hundreds of tons of water a day over the reactors to keep them cool after a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 triggered meltdowns and hydrogen explosions.
Tepco said water was pumping to the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 reactors at the plant and pools storing spent fuel rods were undergoing cooling.
The latest incident is another reminder of the precarious state of the Fukushima plant, which has suffered a series of mishaps and accidents this year. Earlier this year, Tepco lost power to cool spent uranium fuel rods at the Fukushima Daiichi plant after a rat tripped an electrical wire.
Just the other day, at least 110 gallons of radioactive water spilling when workers overfilled a storage tank without a gauge that could have warned them of the danger.
Tepco said Thursday workers detected the water spilling from the top of one large tank when they were patrolling the site the night before. The tank is one of about 1,000 erected on the grounds around the plant to hold water used to cool the melted nuclear fuel in the broken reactors.
Tepco has come under increased scrutiny after it found in August that 300 tons of highly radioactive water had leaked from one of the hastily built storage tanks at the Fukushima site. Japan stepped up support for the embattled utility last month, pledging half a billion dollars to help contain contaminated water at Fukushima.
The utility is struggling to store massive amounts of contaminated water at the site while planning a complex decommission that could take decades to complete.