Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Update

From NEI’s Japan Micro-site:

TEPCO Expects To Meet First Recovery Deadline

July 15, 2011

Plant Status

• Tokyo Electric Power Co. expects to meet its self-imposed July 19 deadline to stabilize reactor cooling and mitigate radiation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. That work includes injecting inert nitrogen gas into the reactor 3 containment vessel, which started today. The nitrogen is intended to help prevent a potential explosion of built-up hydrogen. TEPCO has been injecting nitrogen into reactors 1 and 2 since April 7 and June 28 respectively. The next major milestone in the plan for Fukushima recovery includes cold shutdowns for reactors 1-3, which are expected to take place in the next three to six months.

• TEPCO continues to have difficulties with water decontamination equipment at the Fukushima Daiichi site. The system that is used to decontaminate and recycle cooling water is performing 20 percent below its target level. Toshiba this week unveiled a new decontamination system that can supplement the one already in use. It is expected to be in place by early August.

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

• The Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has told TEPCO to improve its control of worker exposure to radiation at Fukushima Daiichi. The agency also asked TEPCO to increase the number of safety managers for contract workers. There are about 3,000 people at the site working to recover from the accident.

• Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Japan should gradually reduce its use of nuclear energy until it is no longer used at all. The government plans to review Japan’s energy policy, which now calls for building more reactors.

Media Highlights

• Tony Pietrangelo, NEI’s senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, participated in a teleconference for the media following the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s release of its post-Fukushima task force report. Several outlets included his comments in their coverage, including The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, the Christian Science Monitor, and Platts. Pietrangelo also appeared in an interview on Reuters television, and NEI issued a statement on the report.

New Products

• A graphic on NEI’s post-Fukushima website, “Commitment to Continuous Learning, Safety,” which outlines significant actions the industry has taken to ensure that American nuclear energy facilities are operating safely and securely.

• A backgrounder on how the U.S. nuclear industry is learning lessons from Fukushima and enhancing safety at nuclear facilities.

Upcoming Events

• The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s NRC’s near-term post-Fukushima task force will brief the commissioners on its report at a public meeting July 19. NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko will speak on lessons from Fukushima at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on July 18. A public NRC meeting to discuss the report is scheduled for July 28.

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