The Japanese nuclear plant which was closest to the epicentre of the earthquake which contributed to the Fukushima crisis was “remarkably undamaged”, a team of international experts has found.
The Onagawa plant on Japan’s north-east coast was nearest to the point on the Earth’s surface which was directly above the underground origin of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake which struck Japan on 11 March 2011 and resulted in a devastating tsunami.
Damage done to the Fukushima nuclear plant 120km south of Onagawa has made it impossible to single out the impact of external hazards on safety-related parts of the power station.
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) research team is looking at Onagawa instead to see what sort of impact these events have.
Onagawa experienced very high levels of ground shaking – among the strongest of any plant affected by the earthquake – and some flooding from the tsunami that followed, but was able to shut down safely.
In its draft report the IAEA team said “the structural elements of the NPS were remarkably undamaged given the magnitude of ground motion experienced and the duration and size of this great earthquake.”