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The 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident

Book Description

In March 2011 the Fukushima nuclear power plant (NPP) in Japan was hit by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami which resulted in the release of significant amounts of radioactive material. The incident led to the suspension of nuclear programmes by a number of countries. This book provides a definitive account of the accident.



  • Outlines the main sequence of events of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, considers the responses of central and local government, and evaluates the response of the plant owner TEPCO.
  • Describes and assesses the effectiveness of the evacuation process and subsequent decontamination of the site and local area.
  • Offers recommendations for improving the safe design and operation of nuclear power plants and considers the future of the Fukushima plant and nuclear power generation in Japan.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover image
  2. Title page
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Copyright
  5. List of authors
  6. Woodhead Publishing Series in Energy
  7. Introduction
  8. 1. The Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant accident
    1. Abstract
    2. 1.1 Introduction
    3. 1.2 Energy production in Japan
    4. 1.3 The Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant
    5. 1.4 The Tohoku Area Pacific Offshore Earthquake and tsunami
    6. 1.5 Nuclear power safety and disaster prevention systems in Japan
    7. 1.6 Conclusions
  9. 2. The Fukushima nuclear power plant accident: the main sequence of events
    1. Abstract
    2. 2.1 Introduction
    3. 2.2 Outline of primary facilities at the Fukushima plant
    4. 2.3 The sequence of events from earthquake and tsunami to station blackout (SBO)
    5. 2.4 Possible damage caused by the earthquake
    6. 2.5 The condition of Unit 1 after SBO
    7. 2.6 The condition of Unit 3 after SBO
    8. 2.7 The condition of Unit 2 after SBO
    9. 2.8 Sequence of events leading to hydrogen explosions in Units 1, 3, and 4
    10. 2.9 The process of water injection into the spent fuel pools
    11. 2.10 How the accident might have been avoided
    12. 2.11 Background to nuclear power generation
    13. 2.12 Conclusions
  10. 3. The response of central and local government agencies to the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident
    1. Abstract
    2. 3.1 Introduction
    3. 3.2 Central government: key responsibilities and preparatory measures
    4. 3.3 The response and preparedness of the central government
    5. 3.4 Local government: key responsibilities
    6. 3.5 Conclusions: key lessons and improvements needed
    7. Appendix Government offices and organizations
  11. 4. The response of the plant owner/operator (TEPCO) to the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident
    1. Abstract
    2. 4.1 Introduction
    3. 4.2 Accident management by Fukushima's nuclear plant owner and operator, TEPCO
    4. 4.3 TEPCO's risk assessment and safety planning documentation at the Fukushima plant
    5. 4.4 Assessing the postaccident responses of TEPCO
    6. 4.5 Why procedures were inadequate: organizational problems within TEPCO
    7. 4.6 Conclusions
  12. 5. Evacuation and decontamination in response to the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident
    1. Abstract
    2. 5.1 Introduction
    3. 5.2 Evacuation of local residents
    4. 5.3 Predicting and monitoring the leak of radioactive material after the Fukushima accident
    5. 5.4 The impact of nuclear radiation on the human body
    6. 5.5 Assessing the evacuation process in response to the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident
    7. 5.6 Radioactivity, radioactive material, and radiation
    8. 5.7 Benefits and challenges of evacuation
    9. 5.8 Effectiveness of methods to decontaminate the site and local area
    10. 5.9 Conclusions: key lessons learned in the evacuation, return, and decontamination at Fukushima's nuclear power plant
  13. 6. Learning from the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident
    1. Abstract
    2. 6.1 Introduction
    3. 6.2 Learning from accidents: key findings from the official investigation
    4. 6.3 Recommendations for improving the safe design and operation of NPPs
    5. 6.4 Comparing the Fukushima accident with other nuclear incidents
    6. 6.5 Reflections from the Chairman of the official Investigation Committee on the accident at the Fukushima NPP
    7. 6.6 Conclusions
  14. 7. The future of nuclear power generation after the Fukushima accident
    1. Abstract
    2. 7.1 Introduction
    3. 7.2 Restarting the Fukushima plant
    4. 7.3 Conclusions: the future of nuclear power in Japan
  15. Postscript
  16. Index