Monday, June 25, 2012

Alarms Sounded 26 Times at Power Transmission Line Monitoring Systems for Ooi Nuke Plant


The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, still the one and only regulatory agency for the nuclear power plants in Japan, disclosed it during the press conference in Ooi-cho on June 24. Plant operator KEPCO says that happens all the time, nothing to worry about.

And the famous last word, "It won't have any effect", on the restart.

Sankei Shinbun (6/24/2012) reported:

警報作動は計26回 大飯原発の送電線 

Alarm sounded 26 times at the power transmission line to Ooi Nuke Plant

関西電力大飯原発(福井県おおい町)と京都市の送電施設を結ぶ送電線の監視設備であった警報作動は、23日深夜から24日午前にかけ、2カ所で計26回に上ったことが分かった。関電と経済産業省原子力安全・保安院が24日、おおい町での記者会見で明らかにした。

Alarms sounded 26 times total, at two monitoring facility locations for the power transmission lines between KEPCO's Ooi Nuclear Power Plant (Ooi-cho, Fukui Prefecture) and the power transmission facilities in Kyoto City from midnight on June 23 till June 24 morning. KEPCO and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) announced the incident in the press conference held in Ooi-cho on June 24

 関電によると、福井県南部から京都府北部の、関電高浜原発(同県高浜町)や送電施設間を結ぶ送電線の設備計5カ所でも、同様に大気の不安定な状態によるとみられる警報作動が23~24日に計32回あったという。

According to KEPCO, alarms also went off 32 times at 5 power transmission facilities located in southern Fukui and northern Kyoto Prefectures between KEPCO Takahama Nuclear Power Plant and the power transmission facilities, due to the unstable atmosphere.

 警報が作動したのは、23日午後6時41分から24日午前8時12分まで、計58回。実際に送電設備の異常はなく、大気のゆらぎにより監視用の無線信号が途切れたことが原因だったとしている。

In all, 58 alarms sounded between 6:41PM on June 23 and 8:12AM on June 24. There was no actual problem at the power transmission facilities themselves, and [KEPCO and NISA says] the alarms were due to the wireless signals for monitoring were cut off by the atmospheric disturbances.

 関電は「気象条件でしばしば起こる現象」と説明、再稼働準備作業への影響はないとしている。

KEPCO explained it was "a phenomenon that happens often, due to the weather conditions", and said there would be no effect on the work to prepare for the restart of the plant.


It may be that such an incident is very common and very minor, and is usually not reported at all. But now that NISA and the electric power companies in Japan have lost credibility, whenever they do report an incident it is immediately upgraded to something that could be a major problem in the minds of the general public. When KEPCO says there will be no effect, people simply hear the echo of then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano in March 2011.

These alarms are connected to the carrier relays, and use microwave for communication. Because of the bad weather in June 23 and 24, the atmospheric disturbances caused the phenomenon called "fading", according to Kaden Watch News.

KEPCO's press release has this diagram:

27 comments:

Atomfritz said...

It's just a matter of sufficient dimensioning of the directed microwave radio transmission paths.

Just imagine the cellular phone networks would regularly collapse due to fading!
The cellular network operators just dimension their microwave transmission networks that connect the cellular antenna towers together sufficiently to work under every possible weather condition
Even if this is somewhat more expensive than a "lowest cost solution".

But, the communications companies do so because they would lose big money and reputation if nobody could use his/her cellphone every time it is foggy, snowy or rainy.

So we can conclude that Kepco's measurement network is just a cheap placebo implementation to satisfy "regulations", which only works at good weather.

Can we assume that from Kepco's view this measurement network is just an unneccessary regulatory hassle that needs to be complied with pro-forma only?

Anonymous said...

Ambient radioactivity does cause electronic glitches.

Anonymous said...

I DO get that these alarms (may) mean nothing. What I DON'T get is what alarms are for if one can never be certain if they mean something or not.
Call me naive, but for safety equipment that covers something as potentially dangerous as a nuclear power plant, I would have hoped for a little more sophistication and reliability.
*mscharisma*

Beppe said...

If I recall correctly SPEEDI at some point an official described SPEEDI in about the same terms: something to keep the locals quiet, not a real tool to know how to evacuate towards a safer place. Only difference, SPEEDI was more or less correct and what prevented it from sparing some contamination Fukushima citizens were the bureaucrats, not the weather.

Anonymous said...

Behavior of nuclear fuel during a reactor accident
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fuel_response_to_reactor_accidents

Andrew Spagnoli said...

Exactly: the alarm system itself is worthless if operators cannot tell a major event from a glitch in real time. Also, if these false alarms are the common events that Kepco claims, then operators are being trained to ignore, or misinterpret alarms that constantly sound for the wrong reason. This causes delay, uncertainty, conflict, inaction, and mistakes during actual emergencies.

Anonymous said...

ms.charisma
slightly OT but relevant to the subject of alarms, safety equipment, perceptions of risk. Kucinich on the operation of Davis-Besse.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vewl3JHmqjA&feature=relmfu

Brilliant

Anonymous said...

Happens all the time doesn't mean it's safe. It's also a relative/subjective term. I mean, they've said that the whole nuclear meltdown situation is "safe".

Going from their track record, when they say alarms going off all the time is safe, it's probably time to abandon ship...

Anonymous said...

AtomFritz is right on the money this "Alarm" system is just window dressing that just barely satisfies "regulations". If flawless operation was tied to a NPP's operating license they would get it right every time but safety is too expensive and all they want to pay lip service. This is the same circumstance with the on-site radiation detection systems. I don't know of any nuclear accident where the on-site detection systems didn't "go down" when it was needed most. Keep in mind we have no problem detecting the emissions from atomic explosions but when a NPP pops open suddenly we can't find a detector with a high enough capacity nor can we read it accurately. Somehow this isn't a criminal offense that jails top officials for long periods of time.

The US had no problem detecting radiation for Japan but did they make this vital information available to the public that paid for it? The US has run a global airborne radiation detection operation know as "Constant Phoenix" since 1947. This system was used to detect and categorize Chernobyl and it helped force the USSR to admit they had a major accident. This same system could have been used at Three Mile Island but if it was the results became a national security secret. The most likely answer is the US didn't use it because you can't FOIA info that doesn't exist. They are in the process of upgrading the Constant Phoenix detection hardware.

"Sandia is developing the Advanced Atmospheric Research Equipment (AARE) to provide the US Air Force with the ability to continue a 50-year-plus mission of monitoring foreign nuclear tests. AARE will provide a unique capability to do treaty monitoring and sampling against worldwide nuclear testing activities. The precursor to AARE, the Atmospheric Research Equipment (ARE), is the only Air Force airborne Nuclear Debris Collection and Analysis asset in service, and it is based on 30- to 40-year-old technology. AARE will replace this aging equipment with modularized systems that can be deployed on any of three designated Air Combat Command TC-135 training aircraft. This approach will save considerable operational costs for the Air Force compared to maintaining a dedicated aircraft for the mission. (2900, 5900, 6500, 9100, 14400) Eva Wallace, etwalla@sandia.gov"

http://www.sandia.gov/LabNews/LN03-07-03/LA2003/la03/arms_story.htm

Constant Phoenix missions are coordinated through the AFTAC

AIR FORCE TECHNICAL APPLICATIONS CENTER

http://www.afisr.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=10309

http://www.afisr.af.mil/units/aftac/index.asp

Anonymous said...

AtomFritz is right on the money this "Alarm" system is just window dressing that just barely satisfies "regulations". If flawless operation was tied to a NPP's operating license they would get it right every time but safety is too expensive and all they want to pay lip service. This is the same circumstance with the on-site radiation detection systems. I don't know of any nuclear accident where the on-site detection systems didn't "go down" when it was needed most. Keep in mind we have no problem detecting the emissions from atomic explosions but when a NPP pops open suddenly we can't find a detector with a high enough capacity nor can we read it accurately. Somehow this isn't a criminal offense that jails top officials for long periods of time.

The US had no problem detecting radiation for Japan but did they make this vital information available to the public that paid for it? The US has run a global airborne radiation detection operation know as "Constant Phoenix" since 1947. This system was used to detect and categorize Chernobyl and it helped force the USSR to admit they had a major accident. This same system could have been used at Three Mile Island but if it was the results became a national security secret. The most likely answer is the US didn't use it because you can't FOIA info that doesn't exist. They are in the process of upgrading the Constant Phoenix detection hardware.

"Sandia is developing the Advanced Atmospheric Research Equipment (AARE) to provide the US Air Force with the ability to continue a 50-year-plus mission of monitoring foreign nuclear tests. AARE will provide a unique capability to do treaty monitoring and sampling against worldwide nuclear testing activities. The precursor to AARE, the Atmospheric Research Equipment (ARE), is the only Air Force airborne Nuclear Debris Collection and Analysis asset in service, and it is based on 30- to 40-year-old technology. AARE will replace this aging equipment with modularized systems that can be deployed on any of three designated Air Combat Command TC-135 training aircraft. This approach will save considerable operational costs for the Air Force compared to maintaining a dedicated aircraft for the mission. (2900, 5900, 6500, 9100, 14400) Eva Wallace, etwalla@sandia.gov"

http://www.sandia.gov/LabNews/LN03-07-03/LA2003/la03/arms_story.htm

Constant Phoenix missions are coordinated through the AFTAC

AIR FORCE TECHNICAL APPLICATIONS CENTER

http://www.afisr.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=10309

http://www.afisr.af.mil/units/aftac/index.asp

stephen said...

@ Atomfritz:

"pro forma"

you hit the nail on the head.
it's a phrase that has been constantly on my mind for many months. having lived off and on in Japan for 26 years, it is one of the best descriptors i have thought of to encapsulate many aspects of how this society actually functions. the other one is "caricature" (or stereotype)

Anonymous said...

AtomFritz is right on the money this "Alarm" system is just window dressing that just barely satisfies "regulations". If flawless operation was tied to a NPP's operating license they would get it right every time but safety is too expensive and all they want to pay lip service. This is the same circumstance with the on-site radiation detection systems. I don't know of any nuclear accident where the on-site detection systems didn't "go down" when it was needed most. Keep in mind we have no problem detecting the emissions from atomic explosions but when a NPP pops open suddenly we can't find a detector with a high enough capacity nor can we read it accurately. Somehow this isn't a criminal offense that jails top officials for long periods of time.

The US had no problem detecting radiation for Japan but did they make this vital information available to the public that paid for it? The US has run a global airborne radiation detection operation know as "Constant Phoenix" since 1947. This system was used to detect and categorize Chernobyl and it helped force the USSR to admit they had a major accident. This same system could have been used at Three Mile Island but if it was the results became a national security secret. The most likely answer is the US didn't use it because you can't FOIA info that doesn't exist. They are in the process of upgrading the Constant Phoenix detection hardware.

"Sandia is developing the Advanced Atmospheric Research Equipment (AARE) to provide the US Air Force with the ability to continue a 50-year-plus mission of monitoring foreign nuclear tests. AARE will provide a unique capability to do treaty monitoring and sampling against worldwide nuclear testing activities. The precursor to AARE, the Atmospheric Research Equipment (ARE), is the only Air Force airborne Nuclear Debris Collection and Analysis asset in service, and it is based on 30- to 40-year-old technology. AARE will replace this aging equipment with modularized systems that can be deployed on any of three designated Air Combat Command TC-135 training aircraft. This approach will save considerable operational costs for the Air Force compared to maintaining a dedicated aircraft for the mission. (2900, 5900, 6500, 9100, 14400) Eva Wallace, etwalla@sandia.gov"

http://www.sandia.gov/LabNews/LN03-07-03/LA2003/la03/arms_story.htm

Constant Phoenix missions are coordinated through the AFTAC

AIR FORCE TECHNICAL APPLICATIONS CENTER

http://www.afisr.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=10309

http://www.afisr.af.mil/units/aftac/index.asp

Anonymous said...

OT, sorry.

Just realized tokyobrowntabby YouTube channel was put down (http://www.youtube.com/user/tokyobrowntabby/videos)

Hope he have all his videos hosted elsewhere and I would be grateful if someone could point to that location.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous at 6:25 - OT: Always liked Kucinich. Never afraid to talk about touchy subjects, whether 9/11, Bush impeachment, or the NPP topic. Thanks for the link.

@ A. Spagnoli at 4:34: The sad thing is, I've heard the "oh, we have alarms going off all the time, means nothing" several times before from folks at San Onofre in CA. While every child understands the story of "the boy who cried wolf," apparently NPP operators haven't evolved to that level yet.
*mscharisma*

JAnonymous said...

You don't get it. It's all just a matter of translation.

Alarm probably really meant wind chime (given how it goes off when there's wind and rain).

Of course, elections meant popularity contest, democracy stands for farce and fukushima NPP accident is actually the short form for : cutting edge outdoor facility for nuclear science experiments, Asian branch... I also heard they are not satisfied with the European branch anymore and want to start a new one somewhere in France.

Anonymous said...

Ha I had to laugh!. Looking at the diagram, only a Kepco engineer can draw a diagram with microwave paths that is snaking at in the red dashed lines. People microwave comms uses LOS (line of sight)! It goes STRAIGHT from one tower to the other on a another hill top without obstruction. Some rain and thick fog might disrupt it occasionally but still it is a straight path communication!.

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