Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday Update

From NEI’s Japan Earthquake launch page:

Pillars Installed To Support Used Fuel Pool
Update as of 5 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, June 22

Plant Status

  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. workers have installed 32 steel pillars to support the reactor 4 spent fuel pool at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility and improve its capability to withstand earthquakes. The company next will wrap the pillars in concrete. It plans to finish the project by the end of July. The walls supporting the pool sustained damage in a hydrogen explosion four days after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. TEPCO reported earlier that analysis shows the reactor 4 building meets seismic requirements in its current condition, but shoring up the pool will provide an additional safety margin.
  • Ten Fukushima Daiichi workers have entered the reactor 2 building to assess its environment. Faced with near 100 percent humidity inside, TEPCO had earlier opened the building's doors for ventilation, which reduced the humidity by about half. TEPCO plans to install an air filtration system in the building to reduce airborne radioactive particles.
  • With the start of the rainy season in Japan, TEPCO workers are increasing water management activities, including the reduction of cooling water injected into the reactors. More than 110,000 tons of radioactive water has accumulated in the basements of buildings and in outdoor concrete enclosures and is impeding recovery efforts. TEPCO is reported to have two more days of testing remaining for a recently installed filtration system that will decontaminate water at the site.
  • TEPCO has posted photographs that were taken shortly after the March earthquake and tsunami damaged Fukushima Daiichi. One photo shows a worker reading instruments with a flashlight in a darkened room. Others show debris from the tsunami scattered around the site.
Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues
  • The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has called for random safety inspections of global nuclear energy facilities. "We need to systematically and regularly review the safety of all nuclear power plants. I propose that countries with nuclear power should agree to systematic, periodic peer reviews by the IAEA," Director General Yukiya Amano said at the opening of a five-day ministerial conference on nuclear safety. "I therefore propose a system based on random selection. The knowledge that any plant could be subject to review would give operators an additional incentive to implement the highest safety standards." The conference in Vienna, Austria, adopted a 25-point declaration on nuclear safety. The IAEA also released the final report of the task force it sent to Japan to assess the accident. IAEA reporting on the conference is available here.
Media Highlights
  • NEI issued a news release Tuesday criticizing a series of misleading Associated Press articles on U.S. nuclear power plant safety. AP states that the Fukushima Daiichi accident "has focused attention on the safety of plants elsewhere in the world" while noting its series explores issues beyond those posed by the Fukushima events.
  • Steve Kerekes, NEI's senior director of media relations, participated in a Voice of America interview on the future of nuclear power after Fukushima Daiichi.
  • Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, urged world leaders to improve nuclear safety standards. At the IAEA's Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety Vienna, Austria, he said the accident at Fukushima Daiichi has "badly shaken" public trust in nuclear energy, The Hill newspaper reported.
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