UPDATE AS OF 12 P.M. EDT, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30:
Operators of nuclear power stations in Japan have been urged to ensure their facilities have emergency power sources.
Industry Minister Banri Kaieda Wednesday attributed the nuclear emergency in Japan to the loss of cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the Japan Atomic Industry Forum reported. He told utility companies they should have mobile generators on hand to cool their nuclear reactors as an added safety measure.
Kaieda said the utilities should confirm the steps they have taken and conduct drills within a month or stop operating their nuclear facilities.
According to the NHK news service, many companies are introducing emergency power generators to their facilities. Some have conducted drills for cooling operations based on a situation in which emergency generators fail.
At the Fukushima Daiichi site, workers continued to inject fresh water into reactors 1, 2 and 3 to keep them cool, while at the same time dealing with water that has pooled in the basements of turbine buildings and in concrete trenches near the units. As available storage space in the reactors' condensers is filled, Tokyo Electric Power Co. is looking to store the radioactive water in tanks that will be brought to the facility. TEPCO has switched to fresh water for spraying the spent fuel pools for reactors 1, 2, 3 and 4.
All the units at Daiichi are operating on off-site electric power and work continues to connect equipment. High radiation levels and wet equipment still hampers restoration of the plants' original machinery.
The U.S. nuclear energy industry will learn important lessons from the Fukushima Daiichi accident and "identify additional steps we can and will take to further improve safety at our nuclear plants," one of the industry's leaders told a U.S. Senate committee today.
"U.S. nuclear power plants are safe. Still, we cannot be complacent about the accident at Fukushima," said William Levis, president and chief operating officer at PSEG Power LLC, which operates three reactors in New Jersey and is part owner of two others in Pennsylvania. To read more, click here.