Some Evacuated Areas Around Fukushima Daiichi to Remain Off-Limits for Extended Period
• Some areas within the 12.5-mile exclusion zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility are to remain off-limits to evacuated residents for “a long time,” Japan’s government said. Officials had planned to allow residents eventually to return to their homes once the reactors are stabilized, but a government task force said that some areas likely will remain contaminated beyond that period and that exclusion orders will remain in force.
• The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the commissioners would be able to vote as early as next month on the first of two reports it requested from staff recommending actions based on the agency’s near-term task force report on the Fukushima Daiichi accident. The first paper, due Sept. 9, will recommend immediate actions to be taken by industry based on the task force’s recommendations. The second paper, due Oct. 9, will prioritize the task force’s recommendations and recommend “other actions” based on public and staff input.
• Tokyo Electric Power Co. said its continued efforts to stabilize cooling for the Fukushima Daiichi reactors are “beginning to bear fruit,” with all 19 thermometers in reactor 1 now reading below 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures for reactors 2 and 3 are still above boiling. There was no fuel in reactor 4 at the time of the accident.
• The Chinese government’s State Oceanic Administration says it will “strengthen its monitoring for radioactive substances” in the ocean near the Fukushima Daiichi reactor and in the East China Sea to gauge the effect of radiation releases on the marine environment and marine food sources.
• 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.