Skip to main content

Tuesday Update

Government Recommends New Regulatory Oversight Agency for Japan Reactors

Plant Status

  • TEPCO is scheduled today to install a metal cover over the turbine building of reactor 3 before Typhoon Ma-on moves toward the Japanese coast on Tuesday. The 15-foot-by-50-foot structure is meant to cover a hole in the building.
  • TEPCO reported that the nitrogen injection into reactor 3 is not holding pressure. TEPCO is checking for leaks from the primary containment vessel. TEPCO said that it has injected more than 200 cubic meters of nitrogen into the containment vessel to stabilize the reactor, but there has been little increase in pressure within the secondary containment structure at reactor 3.

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

  • Goshi Hosono, Japan’s minister for nuclear crisis management, said he is drawing up plans for a new nuclear regulatory agency that is independent of the Economy and Industry Ministry. The new agency will incorporate some of the monitoring functions now being performed by the Science Ministry’s Nuclear Safety Commission. Hosono said he wants the new entity to be operational by next April.
  • Japanese reactors that are currently shut down should reopen once their safety is assured, Hosono said. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has developed two-stage computer-based stress tests to assess the resistance of the reactors to earthquakes, tsunamis, and loss of power and cooling capacity. The first-stage tests will apply to reactors that were shut down for regular inspections. The secondary tests are for all reactors and involve simulations for an earthquake accompanied by tsunami.
  • U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko spoke today on near-term lessons learned from Fukushima at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. NEI transmitted a letter to the commission on the NRC’s 90-day task force report and recommendations.  Jaczko is seeking a 90-day period for consideration of the task force recommendations, but the industry believes that more data is needed from Japan before many of the recommendations can be reviewed by the five NRC commissioners.
  • Reiterating the urgency of restarting shutdown nuclear reactors, the chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives said the shortfall in electricity supply could cause more companies to shift manufacturing abroad and affect the global competitiveness of Japanese industry.

Media Highlights

Upcoming Events

  • The NRC’s near-term post-Fukushima task force will brief the commissioners on its report at a public meeting July 19. A public NRC meeting to discuss the report is scheduled for July 28.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…