Skip to main content

The Evening Update

From NEI’s Japan Earthquake launch page:

UPDATE AS OF 7:00 PM EDT, MARCH 23:

Commissioners at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Wednesday voted to launch a two-pronged review of U.S. nuclear power plant safety in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and the resulting events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The commission supported the establishment of an agency task force that will conduct both short- and long-term analysis of the lessons that can be learned from the situation in Japan. The results of their work will be made public.

“The longer-term review will inform any permanent NRC regulation changes” that are needed, the NRC said. The commission said it expects that the task force can begin the long-term evaluation in no later than 90 days, and added that the task force should provide a report with recommended actions within six months of the beginning of that effort.

NRC inspectors at U.S. nuclear power plants will also support the task force’s short-term effort, supplemented as necessary by experts from the agency’s regional and headquarters offices, the NRC said.

“Examining all the available information from Japan is essential to understanding the event’s implications for the United States. We will perform a systematic and methodical review to see if there are changes that should be made to our programs and regulations to ensure protection of public health and safety,” NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko said.

Fukushima Daiichi

Smoke seen coming from the reactor building at reactor 3 on at 4:20 p.m. on Wednesday (Japan time) “decreased significantly,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said.  On Wednesday, smoke from reactor 3 caused the temporary evacuation of workers from reactors 3 and 4.

Efforts are continuing to restore offsite electricity at reactors 1, 2, 3, and 4.

As reported earlier here, seawater injection continues to cool reactors 1, 2 and 3. Seawater is being sprayed into the reactor 3 spent fuel pool. Crews continued to use a truck to deliver high volumes of water into the spent fuel pool at reactor 4, IAEA said.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I'm puzzled how Tokyo's water supply got contaminated. Any info would be sincerely appreciated.

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…