Experts find flaws in Japanese nuclear plant

20th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 20, 2007 (AFP) - French nuclear experts said Friday they had found at least 67 problems on the site of Japan's largest nuclear power plant following an earthquake there earlier this week.

PARIS, July 20, 2007 (AFP) - French nuclear experts said Friday they had found at least 67 problems on the site of Japan's largest nuclear power plant following an earthquake there earlier this week.

The Research Institution for Nuclear Safety (IRSN) said in a statement that investigations into the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant so far showed nothing to suggest there was a problem with the way it was maintained.

But it warned it could take "several months" to reopen the plant, which has been closed indefinitely since Monday's 6.8-magnitude quake occurred just nine kilometres (five miles) away.

IRSN said that the plant had not been designed to withstand such strong tremors and this "can explain the large number of anomalies."

The plant, which supplies some 10 percent of electricity to the nation's largest power company, Tokyo Electric Power Co. suffered a radiation leak and dozens of other problems during the quake, which killed 10 people.

In their statement, IRSN noted that a fire broke out on a voltage transformer outside one of the reactor buildings, "the first known case of a fire in a nuclear power station caused by an earthquake."

It was probably sparked when the land under a pylon carrying electric cables moved, creating a short-circuit, the institute said, adding that the extinguishing system also appeared to have been damaged by the quake.

It noted that the fire was not reported for two hours after it started.
 
A water leak was also reported soon after the quake but its radioactive nature was only noted five and a half hours later, IRSN said, adding that the doses involved were "extremely weak".


Copryight AFP

Subject: French news

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