Skip to main content

Tuesday Update

From NEI’s Japan Earthquake launch page:

Fukushima Daiichi Water Filtration System Testing Continues

Plant Status

  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. is working to restart full-scale tests of the water filtration system it will use to decontaminate and recycle radioactive water that has flooded the basements of buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. The system went into full operation on Friday but was shut down after five hours when radiation levels rose more quickly than anticipated in the part of the system that removes oil and sludge. TEPCO may add more equipment to remove oil or lower the water flow rate through the system. Cooling water injections into reactors 1, 2 and 3 are accumulating in the building basements at the rate of 500 tons per day, and could overflow in about a week if the decontamination system is not functional by then.
  • TEPCO was able to open an entrance to the damaged reactor 2 building to lower high humidity levels without causing an increase in overall radiation levels at the site. The company has been filtering radioactive materials from the air inside the reactor building prior to opening the entrance. The move to lower humidity in the reactor building from near 100 percent levels will allow workers to enter the building to begin repair tasks, including calibrating a reactor water level gauge and ultimately restoring recirculating coolant.
  • TEPCO has begun refilling an equipment storage pool on the top floor of reactor 4 after discovering that the water level in that pool had dropped to a third of its capacity, exposing activated metal equipment and causing higher levels of radiation inside the building. Submerging the equipment again should lower worker exposure to radiation, the company said.
Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues
  • Mike Weightman, who led an International Atomic Energy Agency team to Japan March 24-June 1, leads a review of the agency's preliminary assessment of the accident at Fukushima Daiichi at the IAEA's Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety that began in Vienna today and continues throughout the week. Weightman is chief nuclear inspector and head of the United Kingdom's Health and Safety Executive's Nuclear Directorate. Also speaking are IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano; NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko; and Banri Kaieda, Japan's minister for economy and industry. The Japanese government's official report also is expected to be heard at the conference. Attendees also will consider the IAEA's role in assessing member countries' nuclear safety frameworks, and could recommend a global framework for emergency preparedness.
  • The Japanese Nuclear Safety Commission has decided on a short-term policy to begin managing radioactive waste materials from the cleanup of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi site. Applicable "clearance levels" for the reuse of contaminated materials should be those already applicable in existing guidance, the commission stated. The commission also said that the radiation dose to residents near future temporary waste storage or disposal facilities, and for workers at incineration or waste treatment facilities, should not exceed 100 millirem per year (1 mSv/year). The Japanese Ministry of the Environment is discussing how to dispose of radioactive waste generated from the cleanup of the Fukushima Daiichi plant site.
Media Highlights
  • The Associated Press has published two pieces of a series of four articles criticizing various aspects of nuclear plant safety. NEI is preparing media responses to the series.
Upcoming Events


Bill Rodgers said…

Looking forward to your comments on the AP articles.
Joffan said…
With regard to doses at or near waste disposal facilities: 100 millirem/year would be 1mSv/year (not 1000). An extremely tight requirement for which there is no pratical justification, and which foreshadows a possible repeat of the radiophobic adverse psychological consequences so clearly spelled out in the Chernobyl report.

It may well be an achievable restriction, whether or not it requires a lot of unnecessary time, effort and resources - that is not my point. The point is the message it sends to the people who should soon be returning to their homes near Fukushima Daiichi, but are likely to have been duped into feeling too anxious and afraid to do so.
David Bradish said…
100 millirem/year would be 1mSv/year (not 1000)

Fixed, thx.
TJ said…
Not yet fixed. Now it says 10 mSv, not 1 mSv.

And I agree with Joffan that it is an unusually tight exposure regulation.
ClariceStarlingJr said…
Mark, you write like an angel & you're a gift to humanity. xxoo

Popular posts from this blog

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

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: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…