Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Update

From NEI’s Japan micro-site:

Japan PM Says Fukushima will Achieve Cold Shutdown This Year

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

  • Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told a United Nations special session on nuclear safety and security that the Fukushima Daiichi energy facility will achieve cold shutdown by the end of the year. Noda said Thursday that Japan will disclose all information related to the accident and share with the international community lessons learned from the accident. Noda said that the level of radioactive material has fallen to around one four-millionth of the level seen earlier in the year.
  • After the session, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said, "participants affirmed that the responsibility for ensuring the application of the highest standards of nuclear safety . . . lies with each state and operating organization."
  • At the session, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that “we can make concrete improvements to nuclear safety practices around the world” and reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to nuclear energy. She said, "The Obama Administration is committed to nuclear power as a component of our secure energy future, and we recognize that nuclear power is a vital contributor to the world's growing energy needs. It is, therefore, not an option that we simply can take off the table.”
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency general conference, which concludes today, unanimously endorsed its action plan on Nuclear Safety. The plan, based on lessons learned from Fukushima Daiichi, promotes the independence of regulatory bodies from industry and government influence. The plan also recommends that member states undertake assessments of their nuclear fleets to ensure they can withstand "extreme natural hazards" and calls for the agency to perform voluntary safety inspections of nuclear energy facilities.
  • Radioactive iodine released from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant spread not only to the northwest of the plant but also to the south, according to a survey released by the Japanese government. The Japanese Science Ministry will determine the level at which the element spread so further action can be taken to ensure public safety.

New products

  • The Ask an Expert section of NEI’s Safety First website answers a new question: Who pays the cost of used fuel storage and disposal?
  • A new interactive graphic demonstrating how nuclear fuel is produced, used and stored is now available on NEI’s Safety First website.

Upcoming events

  • NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko will speak on the “Global Implications of a Nuclear Disaster” at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on October 5.
  • The NRC will conduct a briefing on its Japan Task Force Report to prioritize the report’s recommendations on October 11. The meeting will be webcast.

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