Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday Update

From NEI’s Japan Earthquake launch page:

TEPCO To Test Water Filtration System

Update as of 5 p.m. EDT, Monday, June 13

Plant Status

  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) says it will test a new water treatment system on Tuesday at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. The company had planned to check the equipment last weekend, but the system was running too slowly to complete the test. The system is designed to treat 1,200 tons of contaminated water per day.

  • The company injected cooling water into reactor 3 for about two hours on June 13, accompanied by injections of hydrazine, which is a corrosion inhibitor. Pressure and temperature conditions of reactors 1, 2 and 3 are stable, according to reports. The company has begun installing a temporary cover over the reactor 1 building that will help prevent the dispersal of radioactive material. Also on June 13, TEPCO started operation of a circulating seawater purification facility installed at the water intake screen area of reactors 2 and 3.

  • TEPCO is taking steps to protect the 2,500 workers at the Fukushima Daiichi site from heat-related illness during the summer. Seven additional air-conditioned rest areas will be set up to supplement the eight that are already in operation. Other measures include the use of vests containing cooling gel to be worn underneath protective gear and 1,300 face masks that provide additional air ventilation.

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues
  • The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will conduct a briefing June 15 on the progress of the task force reviewing NRC processes and regulations following the events in Japan. The event will be webcast live.

  • Two long-term studies on the health effects of the Fukushima accident are planned, according to the World Health Organization. The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation will begin a yearlong study on the magnitude of radioactive releases to the atmosphere and ocean and the range of radiation doses received by the public and workers. The Fukushima prefecture will begin a "several decades"-long epidemiological survey of all Fukushima residents. The survey will include data-gathering on demographics, health conditions and geographic information to estimate cumulative radiation doses.

  • All schoolchildren in the Fukushima prefecture will receive radiation measurement devices, Japan's Ministry of Education said. The government intends to limit cumulative radiation exposure to schoolchildren to 100 millirem per year or less. That is the same level for public radiation exposure set by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Local municipalities and schools are taking additional measures to reduce radiation exposure of schoolchildren.

  • An adviser to Japan's prime minister said officials from Japan and the United States will meet weekly to discuss recovery activities at Fukushima Daiichi. At a press conference earlier this month, he said the U.S. government offered assistance immediately after the nuclear accident and that the United States had provided considerable equipment and supplies to support Japanese efforts to stabilize the Fukushima Daiichi reactors.

  • The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold an oversight hearing June 16 on preliminary results of the NRC's safety review at America's nuclear energy facilities. Witnesses include all five NRC commissioners.

Media Highlights
  • "For companies with nuclear energy assets, the events at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in Japan are a stark reminder that nuclear energy is one industry, bound together by a technology that is both remarkable and demanding. Our commitment to safety must be equally demanding, as should our commitment to international cooperation and assistance," NEI president and CEO Marvin Fertel writes in a column in the May/June issue of Electric Perspectives.

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