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Wednesday Update

From NEI’s Safety First web site:

Second Japanese Utility Submits Stress Test Results to Regulator

November 16, 2011

Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • Shikoku Electric Power Co. has submitted the results of first-phase stress tests for its Ikata Unit 3 reactor to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. The results show Ikata 3 could withstand an earthquake with ground acceleration 1.9 times as strong as the reactor’s design basis and a 47-foot tsunami, four times its design basis. Shikoku Electric is the second utility to submit a stress test result after Kansai Electric did so for its Ohi Unit 3 reactor Oct. 28.
  • Chubu Electric Power Co. has begun building a 1-mile-long seawall to protect Hamaoka nuclear energy facility against tsunamis. The wall is designed to withstand a tsunami 59 feet high and will cost $1.3 billion. It is to be completed by December 2012. Of the five reactors at the site, reactors 1 and 2 are permanently shut, reactor 3 has been closed for periodic inspection since November 2010, and reactors 4 and 5 were shut down in May after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Plant Status

  • Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said Nov. 15 it is installing the first of eight 90-cubic-meter storage tanks at Fukushima Daiichi. The tanks will be used to store sludge from water decontamination operations. Installation of the tanks is to be completed by April. Tokyo Electric Power Co. told journalists last week that 77,500 metric tons of water still needs purification treatment.
  • Nuclear Engineering International reported that TEPCO has sealed stairwells, hatches and other penetrations leading to the basements of turbine halls and other buildings at Fukushima Daiichi. The measure is meant to reduce the spread of radioactive dust as the company pumps water from the basements to decontaminate and recycle it for reactor cooling.

Media Highlights

  • The International Atomic Energy Agency’s final report to the Japanese government from its October inspection of the areas surrounding Fukushima Daiichi recommends Japanese authorities take a “balanced approach” in prioritizing cleanup efforts. It also recommends local disposal of contaminated soils and other materials from remediation efforts and offers IAEA assistance if requested.
  • Dow Jones reports that a panel has been set up to advise the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on the need to revise safety regulations for the country’s older nuclear reactors.
  • Platts reports that as Japan’s nuclear energy utilization plummeted to a record low of 18.5 percent, the country’s 10 major electric utilities have consumed six times more oil this October than they did the same time last year.

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