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Wednesday Update

From the new NEI Japan site.

Plant Status

  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has repaired faulty hoses and restarted the new cooling system for the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. The system resumed operations after the repair. The system, which on June 27 began circulating decontaminated water through reactors 1, 2 and 3, had developed leaks in pipes and hoses shortly after it was activated.
  • Work has started to build a giant polyester cover over reactor building 1 to contain the spread of radioactive materials. A crane that can lift up to 750 tons is at the Fukushima Daiichi site removing debris from the top of the building, which was damaged in a hydrogen explosion March 12. Later, the crane will be used to install the 175-foot-tall cover, which is expected to be complete by late September.
  • TEPCO has begun injecting inert nitrogen gas into the containment vessel of reactor 2 at Fukushima Daiichi to prevent the possibility of hydrogen ignition. Workers have been pumping nitrogen into the reactor 1 containment for several weeks. TEPCO is scheduled to begin injecting nitrogen into the reactor 3 containment by mid-July.

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

  • TEPCO has released the English translation of a timeline covering its responses to the earthquake and tsunami at Fukushima Daiichi during the first five days after the accident.
  • The mayor of Genkai town in western Japan has said he will approve resumption of the nuclear energy facility there by early next month. Mayor Hideo Kishimoto and Banri Kaieda, minister of economy and industry, both said they believe the Genkai nuclear plant is prepared to ensure safety in the event of a serious accident including earthquakes and tsunamis.
  • Toshio Nishizawa became TEPCO’s president on Tuesday, taking over from Masataka Shimizu, who resigned last month. Nishizawa said he would do “everything he can to control the crisis” at Fukushima Daiichi.
  • TEPCO has won institutional shareholder backing to keep its reactors in service. Opponents failed to win enough support for a motion to decommission all reactors and stop building new ones. Chugoku Electric Power Co. shareholders voted to continue the utility's plans to build a second nuclear plant.

Media Highlights

  • Some 34,000 children in Kawamata, Fukushima prefecture, will receive dosimeters to measure their radiation exposure, CBC News reports.
  • The flooding at the Fort Calhoun nuclear energy facility in Nebraska “is not another Fukushima,” Gary Gates, president and CEO of the Omaha Public Power District, told CNN. Gates said water has not breached the buildings housing the reactor core and used fuel, and he’s confident it won't. The plant has been off-line for refueling since early April.

New Products

  • NEI’s new website provides up-to-date information on the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility and the U.S. nuclear industry’s response to events in Japan.

Upcoming Events

  • The task force reviewing U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission processes and regulations in light of the accident at Fukushima is expected to release its report on July 12. The task force will brief the commissioners on the report at a public meeting on July 19. The briefing will be webcast.

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