Fukushima Earthquake Case Study

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Abstract 1.0 Introduction On March 11, 2011, the northeastern of Japan was struck by a massive earthquake, also known as the Tōhoku earthquake [1], which was followed by a devastating tsunami less than an hour later. This had caused great destruction on the coast as well as three nuclear meltdowns and an uncontrollable release of radiation into the air. There were over 27,000 fatalities due to the earthquake and tsunami but none of them directly related to the nuclear disaster [2]. More than 160,000 evacuees were forced to leave their homelands to avoid radiation exposure [3]. The purpose of this report is to investigate: the technical issues behind the disaster the ethical issue related to the disaster The report also refers to the Model…show more content…
When the quake hit, there was an immediate loss of power connection at all nuclear stations but all of the nuclear reactors shut down safely. The backup diesel generators were automatically activated to keep the cooling systems running. However, after 41 minutes, the two tsunami attacks with just an interval of eight minutes had affected the Tepco Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors 1,2 and 3. The cooling circuits and backup generators were flooded by the 15 meters tsunami waves causing them to breakdown. This situation was further aggravated when the backup batteries were also submerged and malfunctioned leaving the nuclear reactors to be in critical condition. The pressure in the reactors rose significantly and the temperature went as high as 2800°C. Hydrogen, steam and other gases slowly accumulated at the service floor on the top of the building which led to hydrogen explosions of Nuclear Reactor 1 and 3 on the 12th and 14th of March. Nuclear Reactor 4 also experienced a hydrogen blowout on the 15th of March due to the backflow of hydrogen and flammable gases from Nuclear Reactor 3 into the shared vent. Nuclear Reactor 2 did not explode but had great internal system damaged leading to the leakage of containment. It is said that the radioactive releases mostly come from Nuclear Reactor 2

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