Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco), the utility that operates the nuclear plant in Fukushima, warned back in 2008 that a tsunami higher than 10 meters could hit the facility, but did not take any appropriate measures.
Tepco made a calculation based on data about the Jogan Earthquake from the year 869, which generated a huge tsunami wave in the Tohoku region. It is believed that the quake was 8.4 or more in magnitude.
The utility presented its conclusion to The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, but no measures were taken by the governmental body. Tepco later addressed the Japan Society of Civil Engineers, which started to analyze the situation under a 3-year research program.
It is possible that Tepco delayed taking any measures, although it admitted the possibility of tsunami larger than previously assumed could hit the plant, by making it appear as if it were waiting for the conclusion of discussions from the civil engineers panel, sources say.
The tsunami that hit the plant on March 11 reached as high as 14 to 15 meters, submerging backup power generators. Power was completely lost and reactor cores melted down.
Photo by: maynard