Fukushima braces for strongest typhoon in 10 years
The collapsing Fukushima nuclear plant has begun preparations for the arrival of Typhoon Wipha. The storm is supposed to arrive at Fukushima tomorrow with sustained winds near 200 miles per hour in what is expected to be the largest storm to hit the east coast of Japan in a decade.
“We are putting in place measures to prevent the effects of the typhoon such as covering the machinery and tools used to dismantle the plant and secure the cranes used to repair the nuclear plant” said Mayumi Yoshida, a spokeswoman for the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power .
The typhoon is expected to make landfall tomorrow morning on the main island of the country, as it moves to the northwest -where the Fukushima nuclear power plant is located- at a speed of about 25 kilometers per hour.
According to the Japanese Meteorological Agency, typhoon Wipha, which has an atmospheric pressure of 945 hectopascals at its center, will bring strong winds and periods of rain that will drop up to 400 millimeters of rain in various parts of the country.
In the nuclear plant area, where it is estimated that the storm will generate up to 250 millimeters of rain, TEPCO will partially cover the atomic reactor buildings to avoid the increase of the huge amount of contaminated water that accumulates in the basements.
“If it is necessary we are prepared to transfer water to other places and open the valves to reduce possible flooding caused by the typhoon, the twenty-sixth plaguing Japan this year, said the company’s spokesman.
Earlier this year, heavy rains caused a significant accumulation of water in the plant. As a consequence TEPCO had to transfer the liquid to 1,000 tanks the company has around the power plant area and that it normally uses to collect the water contaminated with radiation. A lot more of that water is dumped into the pacific ocean, which is estimated has caused immense damage to the ecosystem.
During the process of transferring rainwater two TEPCO operators got confused with the containers and caused the spill of radioactive substances. That was the first of four human errors that have been detected in just two weeks at the nuclear plant.
TEPCO says it has prepared a group of workers who will assess any damage caused by the typhoon after it passes through the east coast of Japan.
During the passage of Wipha, plant technicians will work under cover and avoid open areas affected by the storm, the spokesman added .
The arrival of typhoon Wipha tomorrow prompted the Japanese weather agency to declare a red alert while the authorities have warned of the possibility that public transport will be paralyzed in many parts of the country in the aftermath of the storm.