Skip to main content

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.

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 America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…