Bad Timing: Japan Opens First Nuclear Plant Since Fukushima As Neighboring Volcano Erupts

Tyler Durden's picture

In case last week’s deadly chemical explosion in the Chinese port of Tianjin wasn’t enough to satisfy your thirst for black swan-ish disasters that could serve to accelerate the ongoing global currency wars, Japan is now warning that Sakurajima, one of the country’s most active volcanos may be set to erupt. 

As Reuters notes, Sakurajima erupts "almost constantly," but based on the mountain’s "increased activity," experts say this eruption could be "larger than usual."

The Japan Meteorological Agency has raised the warning level from 3 to 4 and because these arbitrarily assigned numbers are largely meaningless to the anyone who doesn’t track volcanic activity, the agency is kind enough to provide a description for each level: 4 means "prepare to evacuate."

"The possibility for a large-scale eruption has become extremely high for Sakurajima," the Agency warned on Saturday. As for what fate would befall someone who failed to heed an evacuation warning, well let’s just say that molten stones "could rain down on areas near the mountain's base."

But the real problem is Sakurajima’s location - it’s just 50 kilometers from the Sendai nuclear power plant. 

As fate would have it, last Tuesday Sendai became the first nuclear reactor to be restarted in Japan since the Chernobyl redux at Fukushima in 2011. 

Critics, Reuters adds, have warned that "the plant is also located near five giant crater-like depressions formed by past eruptions, with the closest one some 40 km away" and as The Guardian points out, some experts claim "the restarted reactor at Sendai [is] still at risk from natural disasters," despite the fact that it was the first nuclear plant to pass new regulations put in place by the country’s Nuclear Regulation Authority on the heels of the disaster in 2011.

Here's some footage of recent Sakurajima eruptions:

Clearly, this isn't something one necessarily wants to see happen near a recently restarted nuclear reactor and indeed, residents of Satsumasendai (located near Sendai) say there's no clear plan for how people would be evacuated in the event of a meltdown. Here's The Guardian

Local campaigners say the plant operators – Kyushu Electric – and local authorities have yet to explain how they would quickly evacuate tens of thousands of residents in the event of a Fukushima-style meltdown.


“There are schools and hospitals near the plant, but no one has told us how children and the elderly would be evacuated,” said Yoshitaka Mukohara, a representative of a group opposing the Sendai restart.


“Naturally there will be gridlock caused by the sheer number of vehicles, landslides, and damaged roads and bridges.”


A survey by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper found that only two of 85 medical institutes and 15 of 159 nursing and other care facilities within a 30 km radius of the Sendai plant had proper evacuation plans.


About 220,000 people live within a 30km radius – the size of the Fukushima no-go zone – of the Sendai plant; a 50km radius would draw in Kagoshima city and raise the number of affected people to 900,000. “I can’t begin to imagine how chaotic that would be,” Mukohara said.

Neither can we, but what we can imagine is that Shinzo Abe - whose administration wants nuclear to make up between 20% and 22% of Japan's total energy mix within 15 years - is going to have a very hard time explaining why his government rushed to restart Sendai should a cataclysm at Sakurajima trigger a meltdown at Kyushu Electric Power's No. 1 reactor.

And as we noted earlier this month, when the words "mothballed", "nuclear", and "never been done before" are seen together with Japan in a sentence, the world should be paying attention...

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indygo55's picture

Now they can fuck up the other side of the island nation. Winning!

knukles's picture

yesterday one of my athiest buds told me it was starting to fell like "end times"
huh ....

Secret Treaties's picture
Secret Treaties (not verified) knukles Aug 15, 2015 12:02 PM

"never been done before" - ???.  There are several instances where a nuclear unit has been recovered from a long shutdown.  US examples include:

Browns Ferry Unit 1 - 22.2 years

Browns Ferry Unit 3 - 10.7 years

Browns Ferry Unit 2 - 6.7 years

D.C. Cook Unit 1 - 3.3 years

Sequoyah Unit 1 - 3.2 years

Pilgrim - 3.2 years

Millstone Unit 2 - 3.2 years

38BWD22's picture



Well at least that volcano is not located close to our bearing supplier's plant...

Global Hunter's picture

are you related to DoChem bearing guy?  Haven't seen him around for a bit.

Manthong's picture

Major events in this area occur approximately every 6,000 to 7,000 years.

The last one happened over 7,000 years ago.

But I like the pretty colors on the reactor buildings.

TBT or not TBT's picture

Volcanos spew radioactive materials along with the rest.   There are hundreds of them going at different rates allover the planet and under the oceans continuously and often enough, massively.   

DeadFred's picture

You would be hard pressed now days to find any place in Japan that's more than 50 km from a volcano that's active or expected to become active. Of course that doesn't negate the point of the post that this is a particularly bad place for nuclear plants. How many days this year have NOT had a 4.5+ earthquake in Japan? Not very many. I count 33 significant (4.5+) in the last 30 days.

Benjamin123's picture

Im sure he is. He quited Zerohedge some time ago, but i see he is back with a new moniker.

Fester's picture

Quited and getting kicked off are two different things.


I "know" some people have been kicked off 3 times.  But not me.

Benjamin123's picture

He left on his own and announced it.

He is the polar opposite of Dutchboy, Travis or Tony Wilson.

KnuckleDragger-X's picture

It depends on eruption type. Some volcanoes just spew ash, some add in lava flow's, but a Mount St. Helens type of event would be really bad. This one is ash and smoke, so the nuke is likely safe...

Stuck on Zero's picture

I disagree.  Covering the plant in molten lava 100m deep might solve the problem.

mickeyman's picture

Given the size of the crater in the map, it looks like caldera type eruptions are possible. That would indeed be a problem for the plant, as well as the rest of the island. Not sure how explosive it would be.

DeadFred's picture

Yes that entire bay that the volcanic island is in the cinter of was formed 22,000 years ago in one explosion. The Aira Caldera is what they call it but not to worry there's another just as like it 100 km north in the Mt Aso region.

cossack55's picture

Yes, the nuke is safe. Everything else on the planet.....not so much.

Slomotrainwreck's picture

just 50 kilometers from the Sendai nuclear power plant.

Attention US Kollege students

That's about 30 miles. (750 football fields) or the distance from where yu are to the next big city.

GoldSilverBitcoinBug's picture

If even atheist start to think that it's the End of Times, it may be really the End of Times indeed.

To me the End of Times started when we entered in what we call "the modern world/era"...

Enjoy the decline !

PersonalResponsibility's picture

They already fucked up the entire island.  They shipped the Fukushima waste to be burnt at facilities all over Japan.  I bet those hot fires will destroy those radioactive elements just like jet fuel brings down steel buildings.

Robert.Paulson's picture

lol exactly.

Build more of that A-Bombs on that pacific fire ring. Because if Fuckushima has taught anything. Nuclear power is safe! You can not smell it, you can not taste it and if you get cancer. It's your smartphones radiation!

Paveway IV's picture

I distinctly rememeber experts saying that radiation tastes like bananas.

In fact, bananas are dangerous and should be banned. Only monkeys love bananas - that should tell you something right there!

Chuck Knoblauch's picture

GE says open plant or we kill you.

Really no choice but to obey the pope's fascists.

I wonder if the Japs know their country is being turned into a firewall against Chinese expansion?

The black pope thanks you for your sacrifice.

btw, the west coast is fucked.

Global Hunter's picture

You may be correct but you are obsessed with Popes/Vatican today Chuck! (not me who downvoted you, I marked you green).

Chuck Knoblauch's picture

Satan is real and he lives inside Rome.

HQ of hell.

Don't be deceived.

Global Hunter's picture

I came across earlier this year and read about the 13th Century Crusades...against the Gnostics in the South of France!  The Vatican had the whole city of Beziers slaughtered (approx 50,000), "kill them all and let god sort it out."  40 years old and nobody in the education system or media ever thought to mention this genocidal episode?  I don't need to be a conspiracy theorist to understand that they are not what they present themselves to be!

Chuck Knoblauch's picture

Wolves in sheep cloth.

Power has always corrupted.

It always will.

It's in our nature.

God wants us to fight against our natural inclinations.

But so many fail.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

GoldSilverBitcoinBug's picture

I wonder how many Christians (and even non Christians) communist, atheist and modernist slaughtered in Russia back then... 10 millions, 20 millions, 30 millions... I don't remind anymore...

Even ISIS will never compete with them...

Benjamin123's picture

You know the "vatican" is just a place and not a person?

You know that no place called vatican killed anyone?

You know that the actual killers are dead already?

Lurk Skywatcher's picture

The actual killers may be dead, but the belief system they used as an excuse isn't.

Funny how Nazis kill a few million people and their dogma is forever more despised, but a Religion does it again and again and its just a few bad apples...

Skateboarder's picture

International Dæth Line? Daaaamn!

lasvegaspersona's picture


Pope Frank is a commie...keep your totalitarians straight...

Benjamin123's picture

Totalitarians come in one flavor and only look to increase their power. To not look for power equals to let others take it and rule you.

Power cannot be shared, renounced or delegated. These are all equivalent forms of making others more powerful than you, and letting them rule over you.

Even Ron Paul and his son look after power while "opposing power".

If you are just a good decent guy not looking for power, prepare to be ruled and eventually exterminated by others who do have power.

Rusty Shorts's picture

Rothschild's own GE and some say that they own all NPP.

JustPrintMoreDuh's picture

What ... they didn't build the reactor on top of the volcano?  

knukles's picture


The Tom Cruise Postpartum Depression Facility

cossack55's picture

No, that would have placed the backup generators too far above the water table.

knukles's picture

Seriously.  Can you believe that shit?

silvermail's picture

Sorry, but the Japanese do not build reactors. All reactors in Japan built the US, including Fukushima.

cpnscarlet's picture

"Aw shucks...that ain't nuthin'." -

The Yellowstine Caldera

cossack55's picture

I think they are about to change the name to The Yellowstone Uranium Mine #1.

Infinite QE's picture

Please let us know if/when israelis will be providing security for it.

Joebloinvestor's picture

One would have though Japan would have taken advantage of cheap oil.

Then again, the island is fucking poisoned, so what does it matter?

At least a volcano is not going to pollute the Pacific Ocean.

pupdog1's picture

Fookooshima hasn't even started causing trouble yet.

There are many thousands of fuel rods lying around the busted up spent fuel pools.

They are only "spent" in the sense that they are no longer optimal for use in the core.

They are still massively radioactive, and capable of a chain reaction if they get tossed about with a few of their friends--like in the next major quake.

The absolutely hilarious thing is that the divine wind boys are still selling the idea of a 2020 Olympics.

valiums's picture

Japan and nuclear just never get along.

knukles's picture

I'm beginning to wonder if that "Rising Sun" flag wasn't meant to illustrate the nuclear glow emanating therefrom.
                       "Good to Glow since 1945"

I Eat Your Dingos's picture

This is really just another one of Abe's stimulus plans, if another nuclear accident occurs Japan can print more Yen to pretend to clean nuclear waste and fuel.

Its always better from Krugman's POV to have as many disasters as possible to get the economy moving. Keynesism rules! [sarc]