Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Wednesday Update

From NEI’s Japan micro-site

Robot Tests Radiation in Fukushima Reactor Building

Plant Status

  • Work is continuing to reduce radiation levels at Fukushima Daiichi’s reactor 3 building. Tokyo Electric Power Co. has used robots to vacuum radioactive debris and place steel sheets on the floor to decrease the potential for radiation exposure. Pending a reduction in radiation levels,  workers are scheduled to enter the building housing the reactor on July 17 to begin installing new piping to inject nitrogen gas into the reactor containment vessel. The inert gas will reduce the possibility of a hydrogen explosion in the containment building. The company already is injecting nitrogen into the containments for reactors 1 and 2.
  • TEPCO said debris may have clogged a hose, temporarily reducing the flow of cooling water into reactor 1 at Fukushima Daiichi by about one-quarter of normal volume. Normally, the cooling system injects 3.7 metric tons of water an hour into the reactors, but the flow was reduced Monday to about 3 metric tons per hour, setting off an alarm. Workers began injecting more water, restoring normal flow in less than an hour.

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

  • The Japanese government is taking over the radiation surveys being conducted by local governments and TEPCO in the area around Fukushima Daiichi. Schools and other areas where children gather will have priority.
  • The mayor of a town in the southwestern Japan prefecture of Saga said he agrees with restarting a nuclear energy facility there. Other prefecture officials must also sign off on restarting electricity production at two reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai plant. Thirty-five reactors, representing two-thirds of the country’s nuclear energy capacity, remain shut down because of the effects of the March earthquake and tsunami or for regular inspections.
  • A research ship is collecting samples from the ocean floor near Fukushima prefecture to test for radiation. The research is focusing on shellfish and sandworms.

Media Highlights

  • A New York Times writer toured the LaSalle nuclear energy facility in Illinois and reports on how the plant—and the industry—handles used nuclear fuel.

New Products

  • NEI’s new Safety First website provides information about nuclear safety, security and measures to protect public health.

Upcoming Events

  • The task force reviewing NRC processes and regulations in light of the accident at Fukushima Daiichi will brief the commissioners on the report at a public meeting on July 19. The briefing will be webcast.

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