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What Happened in Fukushima – a Technical Perspective

The focus of this talk is on the engineering and design side of the Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactors (BWR) at Fukishima-Daiichi plant. The talk will address factors contributing to the current state at the Fukushima plant including those associated with the GE Mark 1 containment building design, and the inadequate response by the plant operator. The talk is based on public information made available from the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF), the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), General Electric (GE), and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

In addition to presenting reasons why the plant failed, the current status at the Fukishima-Daiichi plant wil be discussed. The talk will conclude with lessons we can learn from the situation that may apply to the 23 US BWR nuclear plants relying on the Mark 1 containment design. Two US plants in particular are highlighted as their design closely matches the failed units at Fukishima – the currently oldest commercially operating reactor, Oyster Creek in New Jersey, and Cooper Nuclear Station in Nebraska (California’s two BWR are shut down). The similarities and differences between the Fukishima plants and US nuclear plants will be discussed.

This seminar is intended to be informative, as well as provide sufficient time for answering questions regarding the nuclear situation at Fukishima Daiichi, and how it may relate to currently operating nuclear power plants in the US.

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