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Wednesday Update

From NEI’s Japan micro-site:

NRC Staff Proposes Priorities for Post-Fukushima Actions

October 5, 2011

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

  • A U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff paper that prioritizes recommendations from the near-term post-Fukushima task force was released today. The document, which will be the basis for an Oct. 11 commission briefing, divides the recommendations into three “tiers.” The briefing will be webcast
  • Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. to provide safety guidelines for its work to stabilize the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. The agency said the main objective should be to prevent additional discharges of radioactive material and to reduce radiation levels at the plant over the next three years.
  • A reactor at the Genkai nuclear energy facility in western Japan shut down safely Tuesday because of abnormalities in the turbine generator steam condenser, a non-safety-related component. The operator of the plant, Kyushu Electric Power Co., reported no injuries and no change in radiation levels near the facility.
  • The government of Fukushima Prefecture has begun to train workers who will clean areas contaminated with radioactive material from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. The two-day technical seminars are scheduled in various locations around the prefecture. Ten seminars are scheduled through the end of the year.
  • The Japanese government will check radiation levels in five municipalities outside the 12-mile no-entry zone around Fukushima Daiichi. On Friday, the government lifted its evacuation advisory for the municipalities, which are located between 12 and 18 miles from the nuclear energy facility. Decontamination continues in the areas and residents have not returned to their homes.

Media Highlights

  • U.S. nuclear energy facilities are built to withstand earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and other extreme natural events, Tony Pietrangelo, NEI’s senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, writes in a Real Clear Energy column. The comments also are posted on NEI’s Safety First website.

Upcoming Events

  • NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko will speak on lessons learned from Fukushima Oct. 24 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. Details are on the AAAS website.

Comments

Anonymous said…
This post is absolutely correct. The fuel in the reactor spent fuel pools at Fukushima was never at any risk. Even with the massive hydrogen explosions in Units 1, 3, and 4, the spent fuel pool walls were sufficiently thick that the pools remained leak tight, with plenty of water inventory.

But the lack of instrumentation to measure and monitor the water level created unnecessary uncertainty about the status of the pools, and the concern about the potential for damage to the spent fuel led to resources being diverted to spray water into the pools, and to the unnecessary NRC recommendation for a 50-mile evacuation distance for U.S. citizens.

There were a number of "technical experts" with anti-nuclear positions who were interviewed by the media during the early phases of the accident who made a lot of incorrect claims about what was happening during the accident. This type of disinformation is very damaging, and that's why the NRC's decision to put improved spent fuel pool instrumentation at the top of the list is exactly the right thing to do.

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