Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday Update

From NEI’s Japan Micro-site:

TEPCO Confirms Recovery Plans

Plant Status

  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to achieve an improved and stabilized shutdown condition for reactors 1-3 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility within six months, the utility said. TEPCO said it will continue to use the circulating cooling system that decontaminates radioactive water and pumps it back into the reactors. TEPCO estimated it will take about three years to remove the fuel rods from the spent fuel storage pools and build a full-scale water treatment plant at the site.

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

  • A public briefing by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s post-Fukushima task force was presented to the commissioners July 19. The task force’s slides for the briefing are online. A public NRC meeting to discuss the agency’s task force recommendations is scheduled for July 28.
  • The government of Japan has suspended beef cattle shipments from Fukushima prefecture due to concern over radioactive contamination. Many of the herds had been fed rice straw that had been stored in open fields. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the government will compensate affected farmers. The government is asking all 47 prefectures to check cattle feed for radiation.

Media Highlights

  • A report in The Hill, a newspaper focused on government activities in the nation’s capital, quoted from a letter NEI President and CEO Marvin Fertel sent to NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko commenting on the NRC post-Fukushima task force report. “The task force report lacks the rigorous analysis of issues that traditionally accompanies regulatory requirements proposed by the NRC,” Fertel wrote. “Better information from Japan and more robust analysis is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of actions taken by the NRC and avoid unintended consequences at America’s nuclear energy facilities.”
  • National Public Radio covered the NRC task force report, quoting Tony Pietrangelo, NEI’s senior vice president and chief nuclear officer: “What impressed me about the report is the lack of information that the agency had from Fukushima itself — in fact the report cites that they had either incomplete, unreliable or no information about some of the events there.”
  • A Washington Post editorial said there is “room to learn” from the accident at Fukushima Daiichi and added, “Unlike Japan, America doesn’t have nuclear reactors on a coastline abutting a major subduction zone fault, which can produce earthquakes and tsunamis much larger than, say, the San Andreas can.”

New Products

  • The NRC’s post-Fukushima task force report needs industry examination, writes guest commentator Ed Halpin, president and chief executive officer of STP Nuclear Operating Co. and member of the Fukushima Response Steering Committee, in a new post on NEI’s new microsite on the response to the nuclear accident.

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.

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