The year was 2011 and a massive earthquake and tsunami rocked Japan. The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident remains marked in history. The 9 magnitude earthquake sent a Tsunami that reached over 45 feet towards the plant. Unfortunately, the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant was only designed to withstand an earthquake of 7 plus magnitude and only had an 18-foot wall constructed between the plant and the Pacific Ocean. It was called 3/11 and was a devastating nuclear disaster, marking the worst accident at a nuclear power plant since the 1986 Chernobyl accident. A focus on nuclear safety has been on the forefront of discussions since the Fukushima disaster. Five years later it is estimated that the Fukushima nuclear disaster has cost Japan over $118 billion.
Lessons Learned from Fukushima
Worldwide nuclear safety has seen billions invested into safety and security upgrades to ensure that an accident of the same magnitude of Fukushima can’t take place again. The nightmare that was Fukushima called attention to nuclear power plants worldwide. Within the United States, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission looked at the various types of natural disasters (or a design basis threat) that could occur to nuclear power plants thus calling attention to the need for increased safety and security. A $4 billion industrywide investment towards nuclear power plants in the United States was made to ensure future security. Mandatory regulations went into effect as well as intense inspections of every nuclear reactor within the United States.
Planned or unplanned, plant outages are costly. The ‘worst-case’ thinking after the Fukushima Disaster has many within the industry preparing for the worst especially when it comes to hazards like earthquakes and flooding. Thinking beyond design basis is a critical component to every plant’s operations. The overall nuclear safety culture has changed, and SavantX is here to support it.