Sensors were installed last spring at Reactor 3 building, registered no shaking in this month’s 7.1-magnitude quake.

Earlier this month, a powerful earthquake occurred off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, in Japan’s northeastern Tohoku region. It’s pretty much impossible to hear “earthquake” and “Fukushima” without thinking of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, tsunami, and resulting nuclear incident, and so naturally one of the first things that needed to be confirmed was the situation at the Fukushima power plants owned by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

But when Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority wanted to check the seismic data from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant’s Number 3 Reactor, they got a very worrying response from TEPCO: there wasn’t any, This wasn’t because the structure is so sturdy it didn’t shake at all during the 7.1-magnitude quake that struck on February 13, but because its seismographs are broken, and have been for some time.

Last March, TEPCO installed two seismographs at the Number 3 Reactor building. However, damage from a rainstorm that hit Fukushima all the way back in July, just a few months after the devices were installed, contributed to them becoming non-functional. “We did not perform sufficient [repairs], and so were unable to record any data [from the February 13 quake]” said TEPCO when asked for its data by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

While both the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini Nuclear Power Plants have ceased power-producing activities, the total decommissioning processes will take decades, and hazardous materials are still present at the sites. The Nuclear Regulation Authority has criticized TEPCO for failing to repair the seismographs despite knowing they were not in working order, and is demanding an explanation of why the company did not address the problem as soon as it was discovered.

Source: NHK News Web
Top image: Pakutaso
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