The hits keep coming for TEPCO

OVERKILL

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I'm sure many recall my opining on the Fukushima situation, TEPCO's mismanagement, and how, ultimately, decisions they made not to upgrade the site, something they were able to get away with because the site was "grandfathered" in and the Japanese nuclear regulator has the operators on their board, were what ultimately resulted in the disaster.

Not only due to the inability to run the backup generators (they were at sea level and the fuel tanks were washed away) but also, the breach in the first place, which would have been stopped by the seawall being upgraded to the same height of other facilities, such as the sister plant closer to the epicentre.

Well, some more TEPCO news:

Shoddy welding maintenance work at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture will push back moves to bring the facility back online by many months, perhaps longer, its operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. acknowledged.

The No. 7 reactor has been plagued by problems to do with installing safeguards against terrorist attacks that required further work and a new round of inspections by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, the nation's nuclear watchdog body.

TEPCO announced Dec. 24 that it had uncovered 74 instances of defective welding that is essential to safe operations of the nuclear reactor.

The utility said it had been tipped off anonymously on several occasions since March about shoddy welding work done by a subcontractor.

In its latest announcement, TEPCO acknowledged the problem and said welding would have to be redone at 1,200 or so sections, a process that will likely take until next summer.

TEPCO had intended to resume operations at the No. 7 reactor in autumn 2022, but that plan has now fallen by the wayside.

The tips about poor welding involved piping used for fire extinguishing equipment. The company in question had the job of ensuring the piping would safely operate at 1,220 points. The utility checked 194 of them and found problems at 74, or about 40 percent.

Normally, gas is injected into the piping during welding to prevent oxidation. But the welders didn't bother to inject any gas, leaving the piping apparatus open to rapid deterioration over the long term. That, in turn, left open up the possibility of safety problems emerging because the fire extinguishing equipment might not operate properly.

TEPCO questioned 17 welders and nine admitted that they did not use gas when doing the maintenance work. One welder said he pretended to inject gas by inserting a hose into the piping, but never releasing any.

According to the report submitted Dec. 24 to TEPCO by Tokyo Energy & Systems Inc., which subcontracted the welding work to the company in question, the welders found it bothersome to lug gas canisters around and then remove them from the reactor after they had completed tasks for their shifts.

Initially, they released only a small volume of gas. Subsequently, most of the welders did not bother to use any gas at all.

Moreover, they falsified their work reports to make it appear they had carried out their tasks correctly. No supervisor from Tokyo Energy & Systems was on-site to check that the welding was being done properly. The company had only the falsified work reports as confirmation that the work had been done by the book.

Major issue underlined in the above block of text. Zero supervision.

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The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant is the largest (by nameplate capacity) nuclear facility in the world, exceeding even Bruce Power here in Ontario. It has 7 reactors and a total NET capacity of 7,965MWe. However, it has not operated since the tsunami (even though it was completely unaffected by it), which is why Bruce is the largest operating plant in the world (and should be ~7,000MWe in the next 5 years or so). They've been struggling to get a unit online (unit 7) for quite a while, and this is just another bungle that has pushed that timeline out.
 
Zero pride in their work, or zero training of the subcontracted welders-EVERBODY knows that critical welds require inert gas flowing behind a critical weld! If this is an example of Japanese corruption, all of their nukes are a danger.
 
Zero pride in their work, or zero training of the subcontracted welders-EVERBODY knows that critical welds require inert gas flowing behind a critical weld! If this is an example of Japanese corruption, all of their nukes are a danger.
If you read the article, the contractor knew they needed to use the gas, but they were too lazy to drag the gas tanks around, so they just didn't use them. Absolutely insane.
 
This surprises me from a Japanese work ethic and quality point of view. Maybe they should of had Toyota or Honda oversee everything.
Mitsubishi Motors/Fuso Truck & Bus was covering up recalls and shoddy parts. Kobelco was supplying Toyota and Honda with substandard steel/aluminum, Chisso Chemical was polluting water.

In Japan, if you’re of working age, you’re expected to become a sari-man and dedicate your life to the company. And also, Japanese conglomerates are controlled by their major banks(Mitsui/Sumitomo, Mitsubishi MUFG and Mizuho) so companies within that bank’s group are intertwined in more ways than financially.
 
Mitsubishi Motors/Fuso Truck & Bus was covering up recalls and shoddy parts. Kobelco was supplying Toyota and Honda with substandard steel/aluminum, Chisso Chemical was polluting water.

In Japan, if you’re of working age, you’re expected to become a sari-man and dedicate your life to the company. And also, Japanese conglomerates are controlled by their major banks(Mitsui/Sumitomo, Mitsubishi MUFG and Mizuho) so companies within that bank’s group are intertwined in more ways than financially.
In the case of the nuclear industry, unlike in the US, Canada and other locations, their nuclear oversight organization has the operators on the board. This guarantees that decisions will be made for the benefit of those companies and not necessarily the public.

This is what, in a roundabout way, brought about the situation at Fukushima. Older designs were grandfathered in under historic regulation and didn't have to be updated to be compliant with modern safety standards. Two glaring issues with the plant at Fukushima Daiichi had been identified long before the Tsunami:

1. The back-up generators were located at sea level. GE themselves had revised the site layout that moved them up, and behind the facility. This was a recommended (but not enforced) revision. Tepco didn't follow-through on it.

2. The seawall was low compared to newer plants. Again, the recommendation by the regulating body was that the seawall at Daiichi should be upgraded to match the height of the newer plants based on Tsunami height calculations. Tepco decided against making this upgrade as well.

Either one of the above revisions would almost guarantee an avoidance of what transpired, which, somewhat ironically, cost Tepco far, FAR more than what it would have cost to make them.
 
In the case of the nuclear industry, unlike in the US, Canada and other locations, their nuclear oversight organization has the operators on the board. This guarantees that decisions will be made for the benefit of those companies and not necessarily the public.

This is what, in a roundabout way, brought about the situation at Fukushima. Older designs were grandfathered in under historic regulation and didn't have to be updated to be compliant with modern safety standards. Two glaring issues with the plant at Fukushima Daiichi had been identified long before the Tsunami:

1. The back-up generators were located at sea level. GE themselves had revised the site layout that moved them up, and behind the facility. This was a recommended (but not enforced) revision. Tepco didn't follow-through on it.

2. The seawall was low compared to newer plants. Again, the recommendation by the regulating body was that the seawall at Daiichi should be upgraded to match the height of the newer plants based on Tsunami height calculations. Tepco decided against making this upgrade as well.

Either one of the above revisions would almost guarantee an avoidance of what transpired, which, somewhat ironically, cost Tepco far, FAR more than what it would have cost to make them.

This kind of incompetency, and poor decision making is the face of the nuclear industry unfortunately.
 
Its humans, for the most part they are sketchy and unreliable.
Absolutely, which is why Tepco should have been monitoring them, but weren't. The lack of oversight here is just mind boggling (as was the attitude of the subcontractor).
 
This kind of incompetency, and poor decision making is the face of the nuclear industry unfortunately.

Not just nuclear, large infrastructure in general. A quick glance at BC's Site C project, the Muskrat Falls project, heck, even the "China" bridge in San Francisco, was a total Gong Show. The West has really lost its way on being able to execute these things. Hinkley Point C in the UK is another example, Flamanville in France. The list is long.

Vogtle of course is the quintessential American example in the nuclear industry, while China managed to get two of the things constructed an online on-time and on-budget.

Then there's Russia, who is hammering out VVER's, it's embarrassing.
 
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