IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

Search our site :


Contact us :

En Fr

Enhancing Nuclear Safety


Analysis by IRSN of the Fukushima Daiichi accident of March 2011

On March 11, 2011, the earthquake that occurred off the eastern coast of the Island of Honshu in Japan and the ensuing tsunami devastated the Japanese territory in the Tohoku region, causing widespread destruction of local infrastructures and untold suffering for the local population.

The natural catastrophe also caused major damage to the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, which led to a core meltdown in three nuclear reactors and loss of cooling for several fuel storage pools. Large amounts of radioactive materials were released into the environment. The accident was rated Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

Beginning on March 11th, IRSN took action to analyze the ongoing crisis and the probable radiological consequences of the nuclear accident, in order to provide the President of France, the French authorities and competent agencies, the Nuclear Safety Authority, elected officials and the French Ambassador to Japan with up-to-date information during the critical phases of the accident.

IRSN has also performed an extensive analysis of the supplementary safety reviews recently conducted on French nuclear facilities in order to draw the initial conclusions concerning the accident.

A more in-depth analysis of the events that took place is still necessary however, to obtain more precise operational feedback about the events. This film has been made to help viewers better understand the events that took place at Fukushima. In its current version, the film focuses entirely on the events that resulted in a core meltdown in three of the reactors at Fukushima. The management of the cooling systems for the fuel storage pools, the impact of the accident on plant employees, on the local population and on the environment, are not covered in the film. 

View the video :

Analysis by IRSN of the Fukushima Daiichi accident of March 2011 (1h09)

Analysis by IRSN of the Fukushima Daiichi accident of March 2011 

Note: This video is also available in high definition on IRSN channel on YouTube.

    Contents of the film

    • Purpose of the film
    • The Boiling Water Reactors at Fukushima Daiichi
    • General accident conditions
    • Difficulties encountered during accident management
    • From earthquake to Tsunami
    • Organisation of Emergency Response Teams
    • Arrival of the tsunami
    • Chronology of events at the three units, from March 11 to 15, 2011
    • Unit 1: Is the IC system working? Doubts will subsist for 8 hours
    • Difficulties encountered cooling the reactors
    • Difficulties encountered venting the reactors
    • How did the Emergency Reponse Centers perform?
    • The aftermath of Fukushima: lessons to be learned
    • Simulation with the ASTEC Code
Send Print


Send to a friend

The information you provide in this page are single use only and will not be saved.
* Required fields

Recipient's email:*  

Sign with your name:* 

Type your email address:*   

Add a message :

Do you want to receive a copy of this email?