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Wednesday Update

From NEI’s Japan micro-site:

NRC, Industry Concur on Many Post-Fukushima Actions

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

• There is a “great deal of alignment” between the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the industry on initial steps to take at America’s nuclear energy facilities in response to the nuclear accident in Japan, Charles Pardee, the chief operating officer of Exelon Generation Co., said at an agency briefing today. The briefing gave stakeholders an opportunity to discuss staff recommendations for near-term actions the agency may take at U.S. facilities. PowerPoint slides from the meeting are on the NRC website.

• The International Atomic Energy Agency board has approved a plan that calls for inspectors to evaluate reactor safety at nuclear energy facilities every three years. Governments may opt out of having their country’s facilities inspected. Also approved were plans to maintain a rapid response team of experts ready to assist facility operators recovering from an accident.

• Japan’s prime minister, in a major policy speech Tuesday, pledged his administration to “redouble its concerted efforts to bring the nuclear accident to a conclusion.” Speaking to Japan’s Diet, Yoshihiko Noda said, “To ensure that there is no recurrence of such a nuclear accident, we will work tenaciously to identify the causes of the accident based on international perspectives and will provide comprehensive information on such causes and prevention measures.” Noda said that nuclear energy facilities undergoing safety inspections will be restarted, but he added that the country must reduce its use of nuclear energy.

Plant Status

• Tokyo Electric Power Co. reports that contaminated water levels at the plant continue to decline. Since June, TEPCO has been using a system that decontaminates radioactive water from the site and recycles it as coolant for the reactors. The company says accumulated contaminated water is contained in the basements of the turbine buildings.

• A magnitude 6.0 earthquake, centered off shore, occurred near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in the early morning hours of Sept. 12. One of two temporary air control compressors for reactor 1 malfunctioned after the earthquake and was replaced with a backup diesel compressor. No other damage was reported.

New Products

• A question in the “Ask the Experts” section on NEI’s Safety First website asks how nuclear plants ensure they have sufficient funds to cover decommissioning costs in the event of an accident. The answer: Facility operators must make ongoing contributions to a decommissioning fund. Here is the response.

Media Highlights

• Some areas near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may remain off-limits for years, National Public Radio reports.

Upcoming Events

• The NRC commissioners will be briefed in a public meeting Oct. 11 on prioritization of long-term recommendations from its Japan task force. The briefing will be webcast.

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