Skip to main content

Wednesday Update

From NEI’s Safety First web site:

Japan Legislature Passes $156 Billion for Rebuilding, Decontamination

Nov. 23, 2011

Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • Japan’s Diet passed legislation to provide $156 billion in disaster reconstruction aid, the third time since the March earthquake that legislators have approved supplemental funding. Of the total, $3 billion is earmarked to fund radiation decontamination efforts, with the majority of the money to be used to rebuild areas devastated by the earthquake and tsunami and to help companies build new manufacturing plants.
  • Fukushima Prefecture held elections delayed from April because of the earthquake and tsunami. Toshitsuna Watanabe, the incumbent, won the mayoralty race in Okuma, the town nearest the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. Watanabe favors rebuilding the town in place while his main opponent, Jin Kowata, advocated moving the entire town further inland. Evacuees from the prefecture were allowed to vote, but the total vote count was low.

Media Highlights

  • The Financial Times reports that American investor Warren Buffett visited Iwaki, a Japanese town in Fukushima Prefecture and pronounced the area’s recovery “amazing.” The Times said the trip, Buffett’s first to Japan, acted as a tonic to Japan’s business environment.
  • The Columbia Journalism Review took the Associated Press to task for needlessly alarmist reporting about cancer risk from radiation exposure near the Fukushima Daichi facility. In a blog post at the organization’s science blog, David Ropeik wrote, “Journalists often play up the dramatic and alarming aspects of the information they’ve found, and play down or leave out the ameliorative, neutral, or balancing aspects that might help do justice to the truth, but which could “weaken” the story. The AP’s article illustrates what this looks like.”

New Products

  • NEI’s Safety First website continues its ongoing focus on practices that enhance nuclear safety. This week, the site features an article about the Fort Calhoun nuclear energy facility, which found itself in the middle of the Missouri River earlier this year when the river flooded. The story looks at the steps taken and equipment used to ensure the integrity of the facility. Fort Calhoun is expected to return online early next year

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear Is a Long-Term Investment for Ohio that Will Pay Big

With 50 different state legislative calendars, more than half of them adjourn by June, and those still in session throughout the year usually take a recess in the summer. So springtime is prime time for state legislative activity. In the next few weeks, legislatures are hosting hearings and calling for votes on bills that have been battered back and forth in the capital halls.

On Tuesday, The Ohio Public Utilities Committee hosted its third round of hearings on the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resources Program, House Bill 178, and NEI’s Maria Korsnick testified before a jam-packed room of legislators.


Washingtonians parachuting into state debates can be a tricky platform, but in this case, Maria’s remarks provided national perspective that put the Ohio conundrum into context. At the heart of this debate is the impact nuclear plants have on local jobs and the local economy, and that nuclear assets should be viewed as “long-term investments” for the state. Of course, clean air and electrons …