Skip to main content

Monday Update

From NEI’s Japan micro-site:

Japanese Government Endorses Plan for New Nuclear Regulator

Plant Status

• Levels of radioactive cesium near the seawater intake area of Fukushima Daiichi reactors 2 and 3 have fallen below the safety limit, Tokyo Electric Power Co. reported over the weekend.

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

• The Japanese cabinet has endorsed a plan to establish a new nuclear energy agency that would take over the regulatory functions of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, which is now under the industry ministry that also promotes nuclear energy. The new agency, to be set up under the environment ministry, will also carry out the advisory functions of the Nuclear Safety Commission and the radiation monitoring functions now being performed by the science ministry. The government plans to launch the agency in April 2012.

• With more than 70 percent of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors shut down for inspections, energy companies are experiencing rising prices for conventional fuels used to produce electricity. As utility companies have compensated for the electricity shortfall by increasing the operation of their non-nuclear plants, the costs of oil, natural gas and other fuels have increased by up to 60 percent from the previous year.

Media Highlights

• The Wall Street Journal reports on the loss of public confidence in Japan’s nuclear energy sector in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi accident.

• Authorities in Hungary have determined from a post-Fukushima review that the nation’s only nuclear power plant is safe to operate.

• The Arizona Republic on Sunday published an article examining the industry’s emergency response capabilities that would protect the public in the event of an incident at the Palo Verde nuclear energy facility.

New Products

• Answers from industry technical specialists to questions from the public on emergency diesel generators and reactor containments, among other topics, are available on the Ask an Expert section of NEI’s Safety First website.

Upcoming Events

• The Fukushima subcommittee of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards will hold a public meeting Aug. 16 to review the agency’s near-term task force report on the events at Fukushima.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…

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…