Skip to main content

Monday Update

TEPCO Injects Nitrogen Into Reactors, Prepares for “Cold Shutdown Condition”

December 5, 2011

Plant Status

  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. has begun injecting nitrogen into the pressure vessels of Fukushima Daiichi reactors 1 through 3. The action will reduce any buildup of hydrogen in the reactors as TEPCO prepares to announce, as early as next week, its achievement of what the company calls a “cold shutdown condition.” A new “Ask the Expert” page on NEI’s Safety First website explains how and why TEPCO’s definition of the term differs from common industry usage.
  • TEPCO reported today that about 45 metric tons of water containing radioactive strontium leaked from desalination equipment at a water decontamination facility used to recycle cooling water at the Fukushima Daiichi site. Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has ordered the company to investigate the causes and report on the impacts should any water reach the ocean and to take steps to prevent future leaks.

Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • TEPCO said Saturday it paid farmers and livestock workers about $500 million in compensation for loss of livelihood after the Fukushima accident. The company has so far paid about $1.2 billion to farmers and will pay another $96 million by the end of the year.

New Products

  • An article on NEI’s Safety First website describes how the Electric Power Research Institute is collaborating with global utility, regulatory, research and engineering entities on projects to gain a deeper understanding of lessons learned from Fukushima.

Media Highlights

  • The Japan Times reports on a government pilot project to test the effectiveness of its decontamination procedures in Okuma town near the Fukushima nuclear energy facility.
  • The Wall Street Journal notes that some mayors in Japan have been pushing for the restart of nuclear reactors that have been shut down for inspection after the Fukushima accident, as taxes levied on operating nuclear energy facilities have provided a source of revenue to local municipalities.

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 …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

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…