Japans nuclear power plants.

The info is gathered from Wikipedia, Swedish, Hungarian and  English websites. Pictures are pulled from the web.

Japan has 17 nuclear power plants with 55 active  reactors. Ten companies own 52 of the reactors within  the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC) The other 3 reactor are private. Two reactors are being build and there are plans to build another 11 reactors.

So what has happened until know and what is the history behind the damaged power plants?

Altogether 11 reactors have stopped working after the earthquake, from these 3 nuclear power plants was having problems with the backup cooling system.

Fukushima power plants is situated 250 km away from Tokyo, it consists of two power plants, Fukushima 1 and Fukushima 2.

Fukushima 1 has 6 reactors, built between 1971 and 1979. Reactor 4 and 6 where shut down during the earthquake due to maintainance. Fukushima 2 is around ten km from Fukushima 1, it has 4 reactors and was built between 1982 and 1987.

Fukushimas  reactor 1 and 3 most likely experienced partial meltdown.  On Saturday, a huge explosion blew apart the building housing reactor 1, where technicians had been venting steam to cool the reactor. Sea water was injected into the other reactor in an attempt to cool it.

Update (March 14):  Fukushima 1 reactor 3 also exploded due to Hydrogen gas formation this monday morning, Japan claim, little risk of radioactivity, ( I cant help but wonder if this is the entire truth) reactor 2 is reported having problems with the cooling, for me it looks like they have gotten their own Tjernobyl by now.

Update (march 15)

A third explosion took place in Fukusima 1, this time it was reactor 2, officials says there might be a risk for massive leakage, the blast may have damaged the vessel that holds reactor 2.

The radiation reading at 0831 local time (2331 GMT) climbed to 8,217 microsieverts an hour from 1,941 about 40 minutes earlier, Tepco said. The annual legal limit is 1,000 microsieverts. These values are a risk for human health.

Japan’s PM says there is a ‘very high’ risk of further radiation leaks

A fire which briefly broke out at the plant’s reactor 4 on Tuesday is also believed to have led to radioactive leaks.

Higher radiation levels were recorded on Tuesday south of Fukushima, Kyodo news agency reported.

Levels in Tokyo were higher than normal, but officials said there were no harmful levels. According to NHK world TV stream they say they can find small amounts of both Cesium and iodine particles in Tokyo.

There is also talk about Fukushima 1 and 2  stores used up radioactive material under the plants.

Picture: Fukushima reactor 1.

Picture: Fukushima before the accident.

Tokai was Japan’s first nuclear power plant. It was built in the early 1960s and generated power from 1966 until it was decommissioned in 1998. A second nuclear plant, was built at the site in the 1970s.

Unit 1 was thought  be the first nuclear reactor to be decommissioned in Japan, the reactor stopped working in 1998 and was planned to be completely removed this year.

The number 2 reactor was one of eleven nuclear reactors to be shut down automatically. It was reported on 14 March that a cooling system pump for the number 2 reactor had stopped working. Japan Atomic Power Company stated that there was a second operational pump and cooling was working, but that two of three diesel generators used to power the cooling system were out of order.


Picture: Tokai

Excessive radiation levels were recorded in Onagawa, although the shutdown was functioning properly. They believe the high measurements are findings from Fukushima power plant.

The Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant was the most quickly constructed nuclear power plant in the world. The Onagawa-3 unit was the most modern reactor in all of Japan at the time of its construction.  The plant conforms fully to  a set of international environmental management standards. All the reactors were constructed by Toshiba.

Onagawa has three units.  Since November 11, 2006 unit 1 has been shut down due to the result of a test.  Unit 2 also had problems.  In may 2006 it was confirmed that a pipe was leaking due to debris damage. In june 7, 2006 it had difficulties with pressure control prompted further inspections and in july 7, 2006 it was determined that  the plant’s performance was not satisfactory.

Reactor nr 3 in Onagawa was in July 7, 2006 due to pipe integrity concerns shut down, in November 25, 2006  following repairs the reactor was restarted. March 11, 2011 due to the earthquake damaged the turbines after a fire broke out and was shut down.

Picture of Onagawa.

Update on Japan

The past days have been largely a chaos of same,  reactor 1,2 or 3 or 4  is either burning or leaking, the radiation levels are undulating, things are far away from solved.

Latest is that they managed to get electricity to the power plant, hopefully, this might solve a huge problem. To what extent the failsafe containment vessels has been damaged is something no one can answer, and what consequences can happen?

This is taken from CNN.

When the earthquake struck and the Fukushima Daiichi reactors shut down, the water pumps lost power. Emergency diesel generators began to power the pumps. However, the tsunami that soon followed damaged the diesel generators. The pumps then operated on emergency battery power, which lasted for 8 hours before being exhausted.

Reactor No. 4 is one of the three reactors shut down for inspection when the earthquake and tsunami hit. However, nuclear fuel was still present in the building in the storage pond.

These fuel rods are not within the concrete and steel containment system that houses the reactor vessel. CNN contributors warn that a fire in the spent fuel storage pond could spread radioactive material directly into the surrounding environment.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) developed the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale to identify the severity of incidents involving nuclear energy.

Chernobyl was a level 7 accident, the highest level, denoting a “major accident.”

Three Mile Island was classified a category 5, which is an “accident with wider consequences.”

The IAEA is not yet rating the incident in Japan on the INES scale.


Latest update: 12 April, Fukushima is classified as a 7.  It took the authorities some while to come forward with it. Even though its a 7, it differs in severity from Tjernobyl as for now,


44 responses to “Japans nuclear power plants.

  1. The events at the Japanese reactors are certainly bad, but they’re not on a par with Chernobyl. The Chernobyl reactors were of a graphite-moderated design that physicist and Nobel laureate Hans Bethe has called “fundamentally faulty, having a built-in instability.” Bethe was a member of a panel convened after the accident, and said “My colleagues and I established that the Chernobyl disaster tells us about the deficiencies of the Soviet political and administrative system rather than about problems with nuclear power.”

  2. Hi David, i really hope you are right, but several experts tells this should be classified as a seven.
    Here is one, sorry it is from a swedish news paper, but i tried to do a google translate.
    “”Frigyes Reisch is one of the leading experts on nuclear safety.
    In 27 years he worked at the Nuclear Power Inspectorate, SKI.
    He has worked for the IAEA and nuclear scientists trained abroad on how to judge the seriousness of nuclear incidents.
    Now he says – in an exclusive interview with Aftonbladet – the accident in Fukushima is as severe as Chernobyl. The release of radioactivity is most likely if lethal doses.
    The Japanese authorities state classifies as a four on the seven Ines-scale dismisses him as cover-up:
    – It says the result of economic interests. This is a seven. During my years at SKI, I would not have talked as freely, but now I’m retired and can say that it is.”””
    Here is a link, maybe you can also translate.


    The whole thing sure looks nasty, i hope you are right though, i know they are built in different then Tjernobyl, that was regarded as an unsafe reactor even before the accidents (we are also lucky it was the weakest reactor that blew up back then as well) but it remains to see how well Fukushima can tolerate a meltdown in a zone hit by an earthquake.

  3. Things are getting scarier and scarier day by day… those poor unfortunate people. Yet another explosion, radiation is increasing around the plant and there seem to be serious risks for even more trouble 😦 Now people are stocking up on food and supplies are getting short. This is very bad…

    I’m not sure how this ranks compared to tchernobyl, I hope it’s not as bad, but it’s bad enough.

  4. @ Katana i hear AFP just upgraded it to a level 6. Japanese government still say its a 4.

  5. A fairly detailed but readable explanation and reasonably civil discussion here:


    Yesterday the French bank Societe Generale estimated that the shutdown of the Japanese reactors will drive natural gas prices in Europe up by 10%, owing to the shift to gas-fired generation. Angela Merkel’s decision to close (temporarily or not) the pre-1980 nuclear plants in Germany will surely further drive up nat gas demand and prices.

    I expect that France will remain steadfast in its commitment to nuclear power; indeed, Anne Lauvergeon, who runs the French nuclear company Areva, is emphasizing the safety advantages of her company’s reactors with an eye toward increased international sales.

  6. I will look into it, thank you for the link David.

  7. bad move for the characteristically meticulous Japanese to locate a nuclear powerplant near the coast, in both an earthquake – and tsunami zone.

  8. The aftermath looks like it was a pretty bad idea yes, my friend in tokyo is moving to Atami right know.

  9. Actually Atami seems unsafe due to recent earthquake…

  10. @ David, i read the first article that was, actually removed from original post and highly attacked, he told the post was instead posted on MIT website and that it was, but extremely rewritten and censored,
    i am not longing for a disaster by all means, but as it looks right now, i can hardly be reassured by fail safe utopias. I hope to ultimate that the people, the heroes at fukushima power plant manage to cool down the reactors and fix the broken containment.
    I wouldnt trust that Josef Oehmen for five cents, he is not a profet and he doesnt seem to understand a few things in nuclear science, or rather, he is keeping it quiet.,

  11. Also…MaxedOutMama has gathered some useful information on how to understand radiation reports:


    ..thought you might be interested, Bic.

  12. @ David thanks for the link, i did have biophysics and within that radioactive decay studies, that is prob why this concerns me a lot.

  13. why did soviets have TEAMS of nuke workers sacrificing themselves for their city on tv, yet i see no Japanese doing so?

    Are ANY japanese sealing these reactors?

  14. I just woke and read all the people at the plant are evacuated, but there is no exact explanation on why but reactor 4 is burning again.

  15. get WITH program, babushka:
    Japan doesn’t matter now in the usa
    we have Libya to CNN about.

  16. @ FP, so little time, so much to write about, i might do my next post about the demolition of a worn down subway stn built in 1982.

  17. Bicy,

    I hope this isolated incident doesn’t turn you off nuclear power?!

    This is all a storm in a teacup – in 2 years max, most people will have forgotten about it. Nuclear power is the way forward – along with solar IMNSHO!

    BTW, this is my virgin post on your blog – be gentle with with me 😉

  18. Hello That guy, glad you visit my site!

    I am still very concerned for how this plant near future will happen, they have had enourmous luck the winds blew out too see and not towards Tokyo for most of the time, they have not fixed the cooling system and it is still leaking radioactivity. And the conspiracy theorist in me is saying that they tell far less then they should,,
    Here is a nice article.
    (I hope my answer was not to harsh 🙂

  19. Bicy,

    Here’s the thing: overall death caused by Nuclear power is less than that caused by fossil fuels.
    So to me the Fukushima incident is like an airplane crash vs car crash – as statistically it’s safer to fly than drive, yet people’s gut feeling is that this is not the case?!

  20. That Guy, you must understand to hungaryans, nuclear power is like Magic. Like angry Sun God or Dragon who spins magic disc to make lights go on. they sacrifice a few gypsies to angry god, then they will be happy.

  21. @Firepower,

    Thanks for that FP, it’s all making more sense now…

    In which case, I recommend Bicy donning a grass shirt and dancing enticingly to appease the Nuclear gods 😉

    Ön táncolni is Bicy?

  22. @ TG, nem nagyon jol sajnos, de kicsit táncolok. Te táncolsz?

    FP and TG.. Im not against nuclear power, what i am possibly against is that it has huge economical interest and that people a greedy, it is a really bad combination, and i am paranoid enough not to believe every word of the government too.
    I think Sweden would be the only country that could run a nuclear plant safely, at least they make the impression of doing so, ( although Barseback had some problems in the past if i remember correctly)

  23. Igen, szeretek táncolni nagyon jól, mint egy profi – de nem olyan profi. Kedvenc tánc a vízszintes Lambada 😉

    Barseback = ?? I’m down with bareback, if that’s what you’re trying to say ?!

  24. NO grass in hungaria. During Soviet rule, entire country paved over in 5ft of ashphalt. Hungarians like it this way.

  25. FP,

    I think I’ve scared Bicy?

  26. you scare ME,
    but that doesnt mean i dont reply to you lol

    youve just got to learn the Hungarian Sense of Humor.

  27. FP,
    Well, based on my experience with girls from this region, directness and bluntness go a long way – but maybe Bicy is a more delicate flower/sensitive soul than that 😉

    I know Sibby usually hates directness, and lives for allusion.

    Whereas Lily, possibly the most extroverted of your three Mommas, seems a secret prude?

    But what do I know??

  28. @TG, you wrote, that yes i can dance, but not like a pro, more like a pro So which one is it hehe?
    Im outwards and social, and then i get ally shy when people get close. think that i can give wrong impression sometimes, i am trying to work on that, and i can have Bikky moments occasionally. But right now i am sick buhu, special thanks to my collegue who infected me, so i have had some terrible days.
    If FP havent scared me yet (ok maybe you have a little), TG you havent yet, although your visszintes Lambada sounds sth to be scared of!

  29. I wish i had the gift of telling tales, and write/explain like SD can.

  30. Bikky,
    So you’re alive… BTW, are you Hungarian from Hungry or ethnic Hungarian from Transylvania, Vojvodina or Slovakia? Let’s hope you’re not a blood sucker at least!

    Damn Google Translate for garbling my earlier message, it should have been:
    “Yes, I can dance very well, like a pro – but not that kind of pro?!” 😉

    Don’t worry about “Bikky moments”, we all have those from time to time… that’s what makes people interesting. Complexity = Interesting, in my book. Me, I’m anti-social but extroverted, so my favorite milieu is One-on-One -and One-on-Two when the opportunity arises 😉

    The Visszintes Lambada is something to be scared of… fear is the handmaiden of arousal…

  31. My mom ancestors are from Hungary, My dad is from the slavic parts he was born is Serbia, but his dad was from Monte negro and his mom from Serbia (rumours tell they met in the partisan war) my dads great great parents are all mostly from Croatia.
    Some of my moms relatives looks asian.
    I think my genetic background would be slavic/turkish.

  32. Bikky,
    Interesting, so you are a Balkan mélange then!

    Does your Mom have any Székely ancestry? Also, aren’t Montenegrins supposed to be the tallest people in the world now, or is it the Southern Alps in general?

    My brother-in-laws mother is from Buda, Hungary.

  33. Hey TG
    Well my fathers side is supertall , my brother, dad and all males are above 2 meters tall, i’m 1.74 and i feel small next to them.
    My moms ancestry is obscure, but she does have Mongolian face features, i doubt she has any székely relatives, im sure we need to have some asian as a lot of relatives on mom side look Asian, mom in particular doesn’t but has high cheek bones, (she is quite round as well 🙂
    Have you ever been to Budapest?

  34. Bikky,

    Fascinating! My current wife’s family are very tall too, her brother is about 6′ 6″ or 2 meters tall. In fact, at 6′ 1″ or 1.85 meters I am the smallest of her brother and brothers-in-laws, one is from Holland (2nd tallest people in the world) and the other is Swedish/English, both are 6′ 4″ or 1.93 meters.

    My mother’s family have very wide faces and high cheekbones, which is from their Northern English ancestry, from the area where the Romans settled 5,500 Sarmatian cavalry (Szarmata lovasság), PLUS their families, maybe 20,000 people total. These Sarmatians were captured soldiers from todays Hungary.

    No, I’ve never been to Budapest, but my sister’s husband is eager to go and meet cousins, and I told him that I would join him on the trip.

  35. Hellu TG
    Your wifes brother is 2 méters tall, and you are shortest of her brothers with your 1.85 cm? interesting 🙂
    You are irish if im not mistaken, at least i think you wrote it at SD, i didnt now the Sarmatians went all the way up to Ireland, very interesting, i took this from google
    “Ancient DNA of 13 Sarmatian remains from Pokrovka and Meirmagul kurgans was extracted for comparative analysis. Most of the genetic traits determined were of western Eurasian origin, while only a few were of central/east Asian origin”
    btw, today they upgraded Fukushima to a 7 scale, even though less severe impact then Tjernobyl had,,,

  36. I am 195 cms tall, but your father and brother are over 2 meters? I thought I was tall, but you’re family has me beat.

  37. *your*… not you’re.

  38. Correction: 191 cms.

  39. Hello Tim.
    Serbian people are among the tallest in the world, dunno why that is, you and your 191 is of course tall.
    In Hungary people are short, i have hard time to find a guy that is 190 here, i go to Croatia or Serbia and men are usually around your height.

  40. You remind me of Markéta Irglová for some reason. I don’t know why; must be an eastern european thing. Do you know who she is? If you have the time, rent the video or dvd ‘Once’. Maybe you will like it.

  41. I will have a look at her, its interesting who one thinks the other one is like, look wise we are not so similar to Marketa but i think there is something in her energy that is a bit similar to mine.

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