Skip to main content

Wednesday Update

From NEI’s Safety First web site:

Contaminated Water Leaks Into Ocean Near Fukushima

December 7, 2011

Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility, said about 40 gallons of water containing radioactive strontium drained into the ocean following a leak in desalination equipment. TEPCO said it is likely to have little effect on the environment.
  • More rice shipments have been banned from a district of Fukushima City after discovery of contamination. Inspections found radioactive cesium above the government-set safety limit in rice from the Watari district and blocked shipments from farms located there. Bans were previously imposed on another district of Fukushima City and two districts of Date City.
  • Fukushima Prefecture will spray radiation-absorbing agents onto farmland and scrape off the topsoil in an effort to remove low levels of contamination. Workers also will remove tree bark in orchards and clean the trees with jets of water.
  • The lower house of Japan’s legislature has voted approval for nuclear cooperation agreements with Jordan, Russia, Vietnam and South Korea. The legislation, which is expected to clear the upper house, would permit Japan to export nuclear energy facilities and transfer related technology.

Media Highlights

  • The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility may have startled some in the U.S. industry, but no one in the industry was surprised the operator regained control of the reactors, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko said in a meeting with the media on Tuesday. New York Times writer Matt Wald reports in the Green blog.
  • The cost of nuclear energy in Japan is predicted to double, including government subsidies, the Mainichi Daily News reports. That would put it on a par with other thermal energy sources.
  • A producer of milk powder in Japan has recalled product manufactured shortly after the nuclear accident after traces of radioactive cesium were detected, Bloomberg News reports. The level of cesium in the powdered milk, used in baby formula, is within government safety limits and would not result in health effects.

Upcoming Events

  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff and stakeholders will discuss the post-Fukushima task force recommendations on protection of equipment during an extreme event and adding equipment to accommodate a multi-unit event in a public meeting Dec. 8.

This is the last of the thrice weekly Fukushima Updates. A weekly edition will be published each Monday starting December 12. Of course, we’ll resume more frequent updates if events warrant.

Comments

gmax137 said…
Read the linked story on Jazcko's roundtable. He's quoted as saying:

“I think there are many people who are associated with this industry who believed we had designed away, or operated in a way, that eliminated the possibility of ever having a significant, really severe accident,’’ said the chairman, Gregory B. Jaczko

I have worked in nuclear for over 30 years and I never held that belief, and I don't think many people involved in the business do. This is a damn dangerous business, that's why it needs smart dedicated people to do it, not politicians like Jazcko.
Kit P said…
To be more precise, nuclear is a hazardous business. Our safety record shows that we can make electricity using fission without it being dangerous.

And for the record, everything in life is hazardous. This is not an easy planet to live on, There are a few who stay up all night so that life is easy in my all electric house.

Popular posts from this blog

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…

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…