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Friday Update

From NEI’s Japan micro-site:

No Criticality Found at Fukushima Daiichi
Nov. 4, 2011

Plant Status

  • The trace of radioactive xenon found earlier this week in reactor 2 at Fukushima Daiichi is too small to have resulted from a criticality incident in the reactor, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has concluded. The company said yesterday that the small amount of xenon-135 detected in a gas sample taken from the reactor 2 containment vessel resulted from the spontaneous fission of curium-242 and -244, which are found in nuclear fuel. Spontaneous fission is a form of radioactive decay that does not lead to a chain reaction. A criticality event would have resulted in higher levels of xenon, TEPCO said. Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency will evaluate the results.

Media Highlights

  • The Nov. 3 issue of Roll Call, a newspaper that follows activities in Congress, includes a commentary from NEI President and CEO Marvin Fertel on steps the industry has taken since the nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi to enhance safety and preparedness at America’s nuclear energy facilities. Fertel’s op-ed communicates the industry’s commitment to learning from Fukushima and its alignment with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on critical safety issues.
  • Reuters reports the Japanese government is giving TEPCO $11.5 billion to help the company avert a funding shortfall as it begins significant payouts in compensation for the nuclear accident. TEPCO forecast a net loss of $7.7 billion for the current fiscal year. The company said it plans to cut costs by $32.7 billion over the next 10 years and to cut 7,400 jobs by March 2014.
  • As work continues to stabilize the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi, officials in Japan are working on ways to dispose of the tons of radioactive material collected in decontamination activities. Disposal will require new technology, the Associated Press reports. Japan’s environment ministry estimates the cost of collecting and storing the contaminated material will be $14 billion, a Bloomberg report says.

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