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Friday Update

From NEI’s Japan micro-site:

TEPCO Improves Core Cooling for Fukushima Daiichi Reactors

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

• The United Nations has released a report, “United Nations System-wide Study on the Implications of the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.” The report was prepared for the U.N. high-level meeting on nuclear safety and security to be held Sept. 22 in New York. Among the report’s findings are that “the design basis accident of the Fukushima Daiichi plant had been too modest” and that accident risks relating to the environment “had been underestimated.”

Plant Status

• Tokyo Electric Power Co. says it has begun to increase the flow rate of cooling water into Fukushima Daiichi reactors 2 and 3 using the core spray method, which the operator says is successfully decreasing the reactor temperatures. Earlier this month, TEPCO began using the core spray system to inject cooling water from above the uranium fuel rods as well as from the sides and bottom using normal cooling water supply systems. As of Friday morning, the bottom of reactor 2 measured 114 degrees Celsius, reactor 3 was 103 degrees C, and reactor 1 was 85 degrees C. TEPCO plans to bring all three reactors below 100 degrees C by January.

New Products

• The Ask an Expert section of NEI’s Safety First website answers a new question about insurance available to nuclear plant workers and contract employees in the event of an accident.

• An updated compilation of frequently asked questions on the Japanese nuclear energy situation is available on NEI’s Safety First website.

Media Highlights

• Bloomberg reports that about 20,000 families will be allowed to make brief visits to their homes within the 12-mile evacuation zone around the Fukushima plant. Visitors will be allowed to use their own cars and will be provided with radiation monitors and protective garments.

• Electric Light & Power says that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will place more critics of nuclear energy on a government advisory panel that is slated to formulate a basic energy policy by next summer.

Upcoming Events

• NEI and industry representatives will meet with NRC staff Sept. 21 to discuss actions related to the NRC’s Japan task force recommendations. The meeting will be webcast.

• The International Atomic Energy Agency’s general conference will be held Sept. 19-23 in Vienna.

• The United Nations will hold a meeting on nuclear safety and security Sept. 22 in New York, during which lessons learned from the Fukushima accident will be discussed.

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