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Japan Earth Power

Japan's Annual Nuclear Drill Highlights Problems 43

AmiMoJo writes The Japanese government's disaster drill for nuclear power plants has highlighted some issues. The 2-day drill began on Sunday on the scenario that an earthquake had triggered an accident at the Shika plant in Ishikawa Prefecture. A group of residents gathered at a port to flee in boats on the assumption that the earthquake had made roads unusable. But the sea was too rough to sail, and officials had not considered an alternative in case of bad weather. Participating organizations were connected via a video link, but there were problems with the sound. Officials at the Toyama Prefectural government office could not hear part of the evacuation order.
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Japan's Annual Nuclear Drill Highlights Problems

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  • Good job. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 03, 2014 @11:21AM (#48301093)
    Sounds like the drill successfully identified some process issues that can now be corrected. Good work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by thaiceman ( 2564009 )

      The first post is actually useful and made by an AC, there is reason to stick around /. not all is lost yet.

      On a more serious note the AC hit the nail on the head, the point of doing test drills is to identify problems so they can be addressed before a bunch of people die or get irradiated so bad that they glow in the dark.

      • I hope they are working on their tsunami drills. That's what would have saved lives in 2011.
        • I hope they are working on ANY AND ALL IMPORTANT drills (IN STRICT, OBJECTIVE ORDER OF PRIORITY AND LIKELIHOOD OF EVENT). That's what would have saved lives in 2011.

          There. Fixed that for you.

      • kidding me right ? 45 years after the start of fukushima's plant, 3 years after a major disaster, the local clowns can't factor in the meteo to get their evac plan right... YES A DRILL IS TO IDENTIFY PROBLEMS... NOT 45 YEARS AFTER THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE.

        Dear god, I feel like Jane Goodall among those chimps...

    • Re:Good job. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Monday November 03, 2014 @11:30AM (#48301167) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, and it definitely means they need a follow-up drill to see if they fixed the problems in the near future. Recurring problems should be spotted and taken into overall understanding of nuclear risk.

      Identified and fixable problems, on the other hand, are going to be misused by anti-nuclear advocates.

    • If you look at the true risks involved in mass evacuations vs expected exposure for most situations, its safer to stay home.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      That would be find it if was a year or two before the plant opened, but this thing has been there for decades.

      To give some background, Japan has annual earthquake preparedness drills that everyone takes part in. Every business, every school, every neighbourhood practices what to do. Makes sense since they have regular large quakes. The problem is that in the case of these nuclear plants hubris has stopped them doing proper drills until now, and it turns out that even some of the most basic considerations (b

      • by Anonymous Coward

        That would be find it if was a year or two before the plant opened, but this thing has been there for decades.

        Better late than never.

    • Re:Good job. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SixFactor ( 1052912 ) on Monday November 03, 2014 @03:00PM (#48303229) Journal

      I second. Drills are the way to identify and correct flaws, as well as to identify areas for improvement. It is unfortunate that it took a one-two punch to turn around Japan's nuclear culture [nrc.gov], but hopefully they come out stronger, as we had following the Three Mile Island Unit 2 event in 1979. Here in the U.S., even now, emergency drills at nuclear power plants continue to optimize emergency processes, and to test a plant's (including and especially its staff's) response to a significant adverse event. The typical drill postulates a series of malfunctions that inevitably lead to a radiation release, which then triggers an evacuation. This latter part is designed to exercise local and state resources as well.

      After Fukushima, the paradigm got turned a bit on its head: instead of a nuclear plant event causing the emergency, it's a natural calamity that degrades and destroys infrastructure that could lead to a radiation release. As a result, the lessons learned prompted at least one order [nrc.gov], which requires all U.S. plants to be ready for events that are beyond their current design bases. In other words, if your plant was designed for a Category 3 hurricane, be ready to handle one that's much more devastating. As you might expect, this is no small expense, but the U.S utilities have committed to making the preparations, and you can find descriptions of these on the NRC website.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 03, 2014 @11:25AM (#48301121)

    I was SO confused

  • ... because that bat-shit crazy Rick Perry ain't got sense god gave a piss ant.

  • by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Monday November 03, 2014 @12:00PM (#48301367)

    INT. HIGH RANK MILITARY CONFERENCE ROOM - UNDERGROUND

    (A GENERAL takes center stage and points to a map of Japan with a large red circle around Tokio.)

    GENERAL: (In a dramatic tone)
    The disaster drill for nuclear power plants has highlighted some issues. The 2-day drill began on Sunday on the scenario that an earthquake had triggered an accident at the Shika plant in Ishikawa Prefecture. A group of residents gathered at a port to flee in boats on the assumption that the earthquake had made roads unusable. But the sea was too rough to sail, and officials had not considered an alternative in case of bad weather. Participating organizations were connected via a video link, but there were problems with the sound. Officials at the Toyama Prefectural government office could not hear part of the evacuation order.

    ***

    EXT. OCEAN - NIGHT

    (A gargantuan lizard shape moving underwater gets more and more defined as it moves closer to the surface. Then, it emerges.)

    GODZILLA : (In a dramatic tone) Roar.

  • "Some 3,700 people took part, including about 1,000 residents near the plant and participants from a variety of government agencies, including the Cabinet Office, the NRA, the Defense Ministry and the National Police Agency."

    It's always a problem when the NRA and Charlton Heston are mixing up the long gun debate and nuclear watchdog drills

    my 3 year old can unlock the ipad, swipe to the next screen, load an app and have fun, why can't the PhD I work with?
  • Disaster preparedness is NOT "a plan". Instead, it is being prepared to act in accordance with Plan A, or Plan B, or Plan C, as appropriate. It is also being prepared to ad lib in case none of the plans prove to be appropriate.

    So, the whole operation began with an ASSumption that the roads were impassable? Maybe Plan B or Plan C should have arranged for these people to make their way BY FOOT and ACROSS COUNTRY to some other assembly point?

    Hey - those ancient aborigines who settled the Americas came here

    • >> Maybe Plan B or Plan C should have arranged for these people to make their way BY FOOT and ACROSS COUNTRY

      If nuclear fallout is part of the picture, you may not want people exposed and crossing terrain on their own.

      >> What has changed? Has the human foot quit working?

      We tend to care a lot more for the sick, elderly and young these days. Whereas a mobile tribe of hunter/gatherers may have abandoned the weak as they ran to safer ground, we don't.

      • "If nuclear fallout is part of the picture, you may not want people exposed and crossing terrain on their own."

        Sounds reasonable. But, since the water is to rough to sail, we're going to leave them there? The persons on scene need to see a map, and they need to determine whether their chances of survival are better if they wait for calm weather, or if they strike out cross country.

        You may not want to deal with a nuclear disaster at all, but the reason for the drill is that nuclear disasters do happen.

    • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Monday November 03, 2014 @12:40PM (#48301755)

      So, the whole operation began with an ASSumption that the roads were impassable? Maybe Plan B or Plan C should have arranged for these people to make their way BY FOOT and ACROSS COUNTRY to some other assembly point?

      If you're actually worried about fallout from a nuclear accident, and the roads were impassable, then the most likely correct answer is "Stay in your homes. Close all windows and doors."

      Which gives the authorities several days to sort things out and arrange a proper evacuation.

      • Gotta hand it to you - you've already come up with a better plan than the authorities. And, thank you for making my point. Alternative plans should be plentiful, and a little ad libbing might just save the day.

        "Everyone go home, as long as you have a structurally sound home to go to. Everyone else go to the high school. When the seas are calm, we'll all come back and sail off into the sunset." Or, sunrise, as the case may be.

      • But closing all the windows and doors wouldn't prevent them from getting irradiated. Might lessen it I guess. I think the better option, assuming the boats can hold them all, get on the boat(s), wait until either A) seas calm down, B) radiation starts to creep up to the ports and then go no matter what. Or shelter in a structurally sound building near the port.

        • If you're not zapped by the primary blast of radiation, the next thing to defend against is inhaling radioactive dust. While skin can provide some defense against radiation, the lungs have no defenses at all. "Hunker down until the dust settles" is a good defense. If I remember my old training correctly, it should be relatively safe to come out after 7 days.

        • Let's take it one item at a time:
          The biggest concern by far isn't being irradiated, its ingesting radionucleides, specially radioactive Iodine and atoms that mimic calcium and potassium in your body like Cs and Sr. Point one for staying home.
          The second concert is ingestion of alpha radiation sources. Alpha rays are harmless on your skin, but deadly if they make it into your bloodstream. Alpha rays can be stopped with a mere sheet of paper. Again point for staying home.
          Then you have b

      • by bsolar ( 1176767 )

        If you're really that worried the most likely correct answer is the Swiss solution: full mandatory nuclear shelter availability for all residents. Either you have to build your own nuclear shelter under your home or you have to pay a tax to use one of the common bunkers.

        http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/bunkers-for-all/995134

        • If your concern is from a nuclear reactor meltdown or a nuclear strike tens of miles away, you can get away with a very cheap anti nuclear panic room.
          A few milimeters of aluminum plus some plexiglass can stop alpha, beta rays and radionuclides from getting into you. This doesn't protect you from gamma radiation, but gammas are the least dangerous, since they have the least energy of those.
          There is also neutron radiation, which is dangerous, but those end very quickly after the nuclear blast, like a few hour

  • They're using a nuclear powered drill!

Air is water with holes in it.

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