Oi nuclear plant, Japan - alarm went off during preparations to reboot the reactor
An alarm went off Tuesday night at the No. 3 reactor of the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, indicating a minor problem, the plant operator and the government said Wednesday during preparations to reboot the reactor. It was the first sign of trouble since the government decided Saturday, June 16, 2012 to restart the plant's units 3 and 4, the first among all of Japan's 50 reactors that went offline in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis. But despite public concerns over nuclear safety, Kansai Electric Power Co. and the government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency waited several hours to inform the media about it, after reporting it to local governments in the early hours of Wednesday.
The alarm went off at 9:51 p.m. Tuesday warning that water levels had fallen inside a cooling tank for a suspended generator, but the incident posed no safety problem, they said, adding no liquid leaked outside the plant and the surrounding environment was not affected. "We don't think we were late to disclose the incident because it was too minor to meet our standards for requiring public disclosure,"a Kansai Electric official said at a news conference in Oi, the town hosting the plant, held from 11 a.m. Wednesday, half a day after the incident and after the media was informed of it shortly after 8:30 a.m. A government official who held a news conference at the industry ministry, which supervises the nuclear regulator, in Tokyo suggested that the agency would not immediately disclose incidents of similar magnitude in the future even if they occur. But Yasushi Morishita, an agency official in charge of regional atomic power safety, offered an apology, saying: "To gain acceptance from the public in the middle of extraordinary monitoring, we should have announced it at the same time we reported it to the prefectureand the town."
Featured image: KEI at ja.wikipedia