home Existing Fleet, Politics, U Seismic Challenge: Oil Leak and Damage at Japan’s Shika Nuclear Plant Post Earthquake

Seismic Challenge: Oil Leak and Damage at Japan’s Shika Nuclear Plant Post Earthquake

In an unprecedented event unfolding in Japan’s Ishikawa Prefecture, the Shika nuclear power plant (NPP), operated by Hokuriku Electric Power Company, suffered a significant oil leak and damage following a powerful earthquake and a series of aftershocks on New Year’s Day. The 7.6-magnitude earthquake, the strongest recorded in the Noto Peninsula region since 1885, sent tremors of concern through the nation, reigniting debates on the safety of nuclear power in a country still grappling with the aftershocks of the Fukushima disaster.

Oil Leak and Power Supply Disruption

Reports indicate that about 19,800 liters of oil leaked from the transformer pipes, vital for the power supply to the plant’s reactors. Despite the significant impact on the power supply systems, plant workers managed to collect most of the leaked oil by Friday noon. However, Hokuriku Electric Power Company has yet to provide a timeline for restoring the external power supply systems, leaving an air of uncertainty over the plant’s recovery efforts.

Additional Damage and Safety Assurance

Upon closer inspection, additional damage was discovered. Ground unevenness near the reactor buildings raised eyebrows, but authorities were quick to assure that there was no nuclear safety risk. The assurance, while comforting, underlines the need for continuous monitoring and stringent safety protocols at nuclear power plants, especially in regions prone to natural disasters.

Government’s Response and Public Fear

In response to the incident, the Japanese government and the Atomic Energy Commission of Japan have established a task force to prevent accidents at nuclear power plants. The Shika NPP situation is being monitored closely, with heightened radiation level checks to ensure public safety. However, the incident has stirred public fear and resistance to restarting the plants. This highlights the ongoing safety concerns related to nuclear power in the aftermath of natural disasters, especially in a country where memories of the Fukushima disaster are still fresh.

The earthquake left a trail of devastation, causing building collapses, leaving over 32,000 households without power, and leading to at least 94 deaths and 464 injuries. As Japan continues to reel from the quake’s impact, the incident at Shika NPP serves as a stark reminder of the seismic challenges in harnessing nuclear power and the urgent need for rigorous safety measures.

Source: BNN Newsroom