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Home arrow Environment arrow Radiation Monitoring and Dose Estimation of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident

II Overview

Accident of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant: Sequences, Fission Products Released, Lessons Learned

Jun Sugimoto

Abstract The nuclear accident that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on March 11, 2011 was caused by the extremely massive earthquake and gigantic tsunami, which resulted in a severe accident that extended over multiple reactors simultaneously. In the present chapter the current status of the accident is described in terms of basic information, sequences of the accident, fission products (FP) released, and lessons learned. Although some details of the accident are still not well known, the sequences, causes, and consequences of the accidents have been basically clarified by the efforts of several investigation committees in Japan. The fission products released to the environment were estimated by the severe accident analysis code, MELCOR, from inside the reactor core, and also by the atmospheric dispersion simulations code, SPEEDI, by coupling with environmental monitoring data in the reverse estimation method from outside the plant. The estimated release amount of 131I is of the order of 120–160 PBq and that of 137Cs is of the order of 8–15 PBq for both estimations. Lessons learned from the accident identified by the investigation committees cover a wide spectrum of insufficient measures, such as for earthquake and tsunami, station blackout, severe accident management, common cause accident at multiple unit site, education and training, chain of command at the accident, disaster prevention, and safety regulation systems. These lessons should be shared all over the world for the higher level of safety assurance of current reactors, and advanced reactors without the need of evacuation in principle should be developed for future.

Keywords Fukushima Daiichi • Severe accident • Fission product • Lessons learned

Introduction

The nuclear accident that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) on March 11, 2011 was caused by an extremely massive earthquake, the Great East Japan Earthquake, and a gigantic tsunami rarely seen in history, which resulted in the severe accident that extended over multiple reactors simultaneously. Although some details of the accident are still not well known, the sequences, causes, and consequences of the accidents have been basically clarified by the efforts of investigation committees, such as Independent Investigation Commission [1], TEPCO's Investigation Committee [2], National Diet's Investigation Committee [3] and Government's Investigation Committee [4]. The fission products (FPs) released to the environment were estimated by the severe accident analysis code from inside the reactor core, and also by atmospheric dispersion simulation code by coupling with environmental monitoring data in the reverse estimation method from outside the plant. Lessons learned from the accident are identified mostly by those investigation committees, which cover the wide spectrum of insufficient measures in hardware, software, management, and regulation [1–4]. In the present chapter, the current status of the accident is described in terms of basic information, sequences of the accident, estimated fission products released, and lessons learned from the accident.

 
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