Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Update

From NEI’s Japan micro-site:

TEPCO Assessment: First Step in Stabilizing Fukushima Reactors Complete

July 22, 2011

Plant Status

• Japanese media are reporting on a joint assessment by Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the government that the company has met the first step in its effort to stabilize the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi site. Among the targets met in the first step include re-establishing stable cooling capacity for reactors 1-3 and the used fuel storage pools for reactors 1-4. The company says it did this by putting recirculating cooling water systems into operation. A key indicator of success, TEPCO says, is that temperatures at the bottom of the reactor pressure vessels have decreased and are now stable. TEPCO also says it has reduced the level of radioactive releases from the plant to one-2 millionth of the peak release recorded just after the March accident.

• Typhoon Ma-on has caused water levels to rise in the basements of the reactor buildings at Fukushima Daiichi. On Thursday water in the basement of reactor 1 rose by 24 inches from the previous day, but there is no danger of water overflowing from the basements.

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

• A public U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission meeting to discuss the agency’s near-term task force recommendations for safety enhancements at U.S. nuclear energy facilities is scheduled for July 28.

• Kansai Electric Power Co. has shut down two of its reactors in Fukui prefecture, one at the Takahama plant and another at Ohi. The plants were due for regular inspections, but will not restart until they have completed government-ordered “stress” tests. The schedule for the tests has not yet been determined. The shutdowns bring the number of operating nuclear reactors in Japan to 17 out of 54.

• Two Japanese supermarket operators are recalling more than 5,900 pounds of beef from Fukushima prefecture cattle that were fed rice straw possibly contaminated with radioactive cesium. The Japanese government is considering buying all contaminated beef. Earlier in the week, the government suspended shipments of beef cattle from the prefecture.

Media Highlights

• A report by Nasdaq/Dow Jones Newswires says Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency could order the country’s nuclear utilities to begin the two-stage European-style “stress tests” on shutdown reactors as early as this week. The results of the tests will inform decisions to restart the reactors.

• Asia-Pacific News says that IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano will make a first visit to the Fukushima Daiichi site Monday, July 25. Amano is scheduled to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan and with government ministers and TEPCO executives.

New Products

• A report by Bisconti Research Inc. on its June public opinion survey of communities near U.S. nuclear plants can be found on NEI’s member website.

• Topline results of a July nationwide survey by Luntz Global of U.S. public and opinion leaders on post-Fukushima attitudes is available on the NEI member website. Luntz’s presentation on communicating nuclear issues is also available.

Upcoming Events

• NEI will brief financial analysts on the status of the nuclear energy industry after the events at Fukushima Daiichi in a meeting in New York July 26. The meeting will be live webcast.

• The Foundation for Nuclear Studies will host a briefing and discussion for congressional staff July 29 on the status of Fukushima Daiichi in Washington, D.C.

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