Inattention behind crane collapse at nuclear plant

Inattention behind crane collapse at nuclear plant

The operator of the Takahama nuclear plant in central Japan says a lack of precautions against gusting winds led to an accident in which a crane toppled over.

The crane, which measured over 110 meters, collapsed at the plant in Fukui Prefecture on January 20th. It damaged the roof of a fuel storage building for the adjacent No.2 reactor. The crane had been erected there for work related to safety measures.

On Wednesday, operator Kansai Electric Power Company said it had concluded that strong winds with gusts of up to 173 kilometers an hour blew down the crane.

It blamed the subcontractor in charge of the safety work for overlooking a storm warning issued at the time. The utility said the subcontractor had stated that it would fold the crane down when gusts over 108 kilometers an hour were expected.

Kansai Electric blamed itself as well for failing to issue an alert within the firm or to the subcontractor over the storm warning, even though it had been noticed.

It said the failure to deploy the necessary measures led to the accident.

KEPCO vice president Hideki Toyomatsu visited Fukui Prefecture's Deputy Governor Minoru Fujita on Wednesday. He apologized and said his company is determined to ensure such accidents never happen again.