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TEPCO leaves Fukushima N-plant seismometers unrepaired

Tokyo, Feb. 22 (Jiji Press)–Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. <9501> left two seismometers at the No. 3 reactor at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant last year unrepaired, officials said Monday.

The instruments at the plant in the northeastern Japan prefecture of Fukushima did not record waves of a powerful earthquake that rocked the Tohoku region Feb. 13 because they were not functioning. The quake measured upper 6, the second-highest level on the Japanese seismic intensity scale, in some locations in Tohoku.

The problem was reported in a meeting of the Nuclear Regulation Authority on Monday.

According to TEPCO, seismometers at the No. 1 to No. 4 reactors at the plant broke down in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit the northeastern Japan region, triggering a triple meltdown at the power plant.

The company currently measures quakes using seismometers at the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors.

In March last year, the NRA pointed to the need to assess the seismic adequacy of the No. 3 reactor building, damaged in a hydrogen explosion that occurred during the early stage of the nuclear crisis.

Within that month, TEPCO set up seismometers on the first and fifth floors of the building.

The one on the first floor broke down after being submerged due to heavy rain last July, while the one on the fifth floor had malfunctions in October 2020.

 At a press conference Monday, a TEPCO official said that the company had planned to newly install seismometers after identifying the causes of the malfunctions and implementing preventive measures.

TEPCO should have introduced substitutes speedily before considering replacing them with upgraded seismometers, the official added.

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