Skip to main content

NEI Updates

These have appeared at the main NEI Website. Note  especially the link to the Fact Sheet about used fuel storage at Fukushima Daiichi:

UPDATE AS OF 4:30 P.M. EDT, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16:
Japanese authorities have reported concerns today about the condition of the used nuclear fuel pools at Fukushima Daiichi reactor 3 and reactor 4.

Officials also are preparing to spray water into reactor 4 from ground positions and possibly later into reactor 3. Some debris on the ground from the March 14 explosion at reactor 3 may need to be removed before the spraying can begin.

Most plants store used fuel in steel-lined, concrete vaults filled with water, which acts as a natural barrier for radiation from the used fuel. The water also keeps the fuel cool while the radiation decays—or becomes less radioactive. The water itself does not leave the used fuel pool.

Used nuclear fuel at the Fukushima-Daiichi plant is stored in seven pools (one at each reactor and a shared pool) and in a dry container storage facility (containing nine casks.)

The used fuel pools are designed so that the water in the pool cannot drain down as a result of damage to the piping or cooling systems. The pools do not have drains in the sides or the floor of the pool structure. The only way to rapidly drain down the pool is to have structural damage of the walls or the floor.

For more information on used fuel pools, see our new fact sheet, “Used Nuclear Fuel Storage at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.”

The U.S. government on Wednesday recommended that Americans within 50 miles of the Fukushima Daiichi plant evacuate the area. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has posted this news release on its website regarding the evacuation recommendation.

The information contained in NRC’s recent press release is new and industry is still evaluating the radiation dose calculations since there is little context for the numbers provided in the press release. On the surface, the estimated doses look to be extremely conservative, but we have no additional information on which to evaluate them.

Comments

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 …

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…

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…