Skip to main content

Wednesday Update

From NEI’s Japan micro-site:

High Radiation Readings Expected as TEPCO Surveys Vent From Reactor

Plant Status

• Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it has detected radiation levels of at least 1,000 rem per hour at the base of an exhaust pipe between reactor buildings 1 and 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. It is the highest radiation level detected at the site. The pipe was used to vent air from the reactor containment the day after the accident began on March 11. TEPCO also detected radiation of 500 rem per hour on the second floor of the reactor 1 building, the highest level found indoors since the accident. TEPCO has restricted access to both areas. These levels of radiation are not unexpected. As recovery efforts proceed, more extensive and detailed radiation surveys are being conducted. Given the severity of events at the site, it would not be surprising if similarly high radiation levels were measured in some areas of the plant in the future. Radiation assessment is important work that will continue. These surveys help ensure that proper safety measures are implemented before workers enter previously inaccessible areas of the facility.

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

• The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee heard testimony Aug. 2 from the commissioners of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on the agency’s follow-up to the accident in Japan. The commissioners discussed their views on implementing the recommendations of an NRC task force in light of the accident at Fukushima Daiichi. Statements from participants and an archived webcast of the hearing are available online.

• The Japanese government will begin full-scale decontamination work in the 12.5-mile evacuation zone around Fukushima Daiichi. A government official said the goal is for residents to return by early next year.

• Japanese authorities will centralize radiation monitoring within one organization after complaints about difficulties of finding radiation information from the several government agencies, prefectures and electric utilities that collect it. The central government also plans to set up 250 monitoring stations across the country and map radiation levels. It will begin providing information online by mid-August.

• The Fukushima prefecture government next week will start buying cattle that are believed to have eaten feed contaminated with radioactive cesium. Beef shipments have been banned from four prefectures near Fukushima Daiichi that account for 15 percent of Japan’s production. Several prefectural governments also plan to test this year’s rice crop for radiation.

Media Highlights

• Nuclear energy will remain a key electricity source for Florida and energy companies should continue with development of new reactors, state Public Service Commission Chairman Art Graham told the St. Petersburg Times. “The biggest mistake that we made when Three Mile Island happened was that we turned and ran from it,” said Graham, referring to the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island.

• NRC Commissioner William Ostendorff outlined six recommendations of the agency’s post-Fukushima task force that the commission could act on “in a matter of weeks,” The New York Times reports.

• Japan’s parliament has approved a $26 billion fund to help pay compensation claims resulting from the accident at Fukushima Daiichi, The New York Times reports.

• Japan’s government is expected to announce the creation of a new nuclear energy oversight agency, Reuters reports. It would combine the current regulator, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, with another government organization and put them under the Environment Agency.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Knowing What You’ve Got Before It’s Gone in Nuclear Energy

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior director of policy analysis and strategic planning at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

Nuclear energy is by far the largest source of carbon prevention in the United States, but this is a rough time to be in the business of selling electricity due to cheap natural gas and a flood of subsidized renewable energy. Some nuclear plants have closed prematurely, and others likely will follow.
In recent weeks, Exelon and the Omaha Public Power District said that they might close the Clinton, Quad Cities and Fort Calhoun nuclear reactors. As Joni Mitchell’s famous song says, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”
More than 100 energy and policy experts will gather in a U.S. Senate meeting room on May 19 to talk about how to improve the viability of existing nuclear plants. The event will be webcast, and a link will be available here.
Unlike other energy sources, nuclear power plants get no specia…

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…