Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Update

From NEI’s Japan micro-site:

NRC Commissioners Direct Staff to Act Promptly on Fukushima Task Force Recommendations

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

• The five-member U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a memorandum directing the agency staff to engage with staff experts and external stakeholders to provide the commission with options for agency actions based on the NRC’s near-term task force report on insights from the Fukushima Daiichi accident. The commission requested a report in three weeks noting actions from the task force report that industry should take “without unnecessary delay.” Longer-term actions required by industry would be identified in a separate report within 45 days.

• NHK World reports that the Japan Atomic Energy Agency has created a detailed map showing ground radiation levels within 62 miles of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. The map was developed using a detailed survey conducted in June by a JAEA team. The color-coded map uses Google Earth technology to help users pinpoint locations. JAEA says it hopes the map will help evacuees understand whether it is safe to return home and help government officials with decontamination efforts.

Plant Status

• Tokyo Electric Power Co. noted that its new water decontamination facility began operating this week. The Toshiba-built facility has 14 cesium-absorbing zeolite tanks and has been operating in test mode. The facility is meant to augment the French and U.S. system to clean and recycle cooling water. TEPCO’s efforts to control the volume of water used for cooling include gradually reducing the flow rate of water injected into the reactors.

• TEPCO published an Aug. 17 revision of its roadmap toward restoration from the accident at Fukushima Daiichi. New measures in the revision include a plan to hire and train more staff to conduct radiation protection and survey work.

Media Highlights

Low levels of radioactive contamination have been detected in rice in Japan, although levels are not hazardous.

Upcoming Events

• The NRC’s full Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards will hold a public meeting Sept. 8 to review the agency’s near-term task force report on the events at Fukushima.

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