Skip to main content

Friday Update

From NEI’s Japan Earthquake launch page:
Updated as of noon EDT, Friday, June 17
Plant Status
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff said it now appears the agency was mistaken in its early conclusion that the used fuel pool at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor 4 may have lost all cooling water. "According to the latest information, it is unlikely it ever went completely dry," said William Borchardt, NRC executive director for operations, in a progress briefing Wednesday for the NRC commissioners. Concern about the potential for overheating in the pool was a factor in the NRC's conservative call for U.S. citizens to evacuate as far as 50 miles from the plant, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko told a congressional committee yesterday. "We are continuing to review and re-evaluate the 50-mile recommendation," he said.
  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) is preparing to release a revised "road map" today for stabilizing the Fukushima Daiichi site, with an increased emphasis on measures to protect the health of workers in light of new information that some received radiation doses above emergency limits set by the government. The revised plan restricts work hours, creates a system for recording automatically workers' exposure to radioactivity, increases the number of devices available to check for internal exposures, places more doctors at the site round the clock and creates new rest facilities for workers.
  • Testing was suspended yesterday on a system to remove radioactive cesium from waste water because of a leaking valve. Once the valve is replaced and tests are completed, TEPCO plans to put the system in service today. Full operation of the water treatment system is essential to TEPCO's plan to cool the reactors continuously. More than 110,000 tons of contaminated water has accumulated in the complex, and it is increasing at a rate of 500 tons a day as fresh water is poured onto the reactors. The main facility to store contaminated water reached capacity yesterday. Preparations are under way to build more storage tanks, next month at the earliest, and install a backup filtering device by August.
Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

  • The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held an oversight hearing June 16 on preliminary results of the NRC's safety review at America's nuclear energy facilities. Witnesses included all five NRC commissioners.
  • China has completed post-Fukushima safety inspections at its 13 operating nuclear energy facilities and is moving ahead with inspections at the 28 facilities under construction, with the goal of completing that work by October. While no new plants will be authorized to start up before the inspections are completed, China has announced plans to move ahead with development of additional nuclear energy facilities, Li Ganjie of the Ministry of Environmental Protection told a visiting U.S. delegation on June 10. The nation hopes to have as many as 100 nuclear energy facilities operational by 2020 to help meet energy demand that is rising at an estimated 10 percent to 12 percent annually.
Upcoming Events
  • International Atomic Energy Agency ministerial conference on nuclear safety, June 20-24, Vienna, Austria.
  • Japan-America Society, "The Future of Nuclear Energy Around the World," June 23, Washington, D.C.
  • Recommendations from the NRC's post-Fukushima task force will be provided to the commission in a report in July. The staff is scheduled to discuss these recommendations with the commission at a public meeting on July 19. Next steps include forming a longer-term task force to address areas identified by the near-term task force. The longer-term review is expected to take approximately six months.

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 …

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear Is a Long-Term Investment for Ohio that Will Pay Big

With 50 different state legislative calendars, more than half of them adjourn by June, and those still in session throughout the year usually take a recess in the summer. So springtime is prime time for state legislative activity. In the next few weeks, legislatures are hosting hearings and calling for votes on bills that have been battered back and forth in the capital halls.

On Tuesday, The Ohio Public Utilities Committee hosted its third round of hearings on the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resources Program, House Bill 178, and NEI’s Maria Korsnick testified before a jam-packed room of legislators.


Washingtonians parachuting into state debates can be a tricky platform, but in this case, Maria’s remarks provided national perspective that put the Ohio conundrum into context. At the heart of this debate is the impact nuclear plants have on local jobs and the local economy, and that nuclear assets should be viewed as “long-term investments” for the state. Of course, clean air and electrons …