Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Fukushima Five Years Later: U.S.-Japan Collaboration

Jeff Archie
This week is the fifth anniversary of the accident at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. To mark the event, we'll be sharing observations from leaders around the nuclear energy industry all week long on how the U.S. has absorbed lessons learned from the accident to make safe nuclear plants even safer. Today's contribution comes from Jeff Archie, Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer of South Carolina Electric & Gas Company.

Chief nuclear officers (CNO) representing U.S. energy companies have collaborated with their Japanese colleagues on leadership, safety and reactor operations during meetings in Japan and the United States and in personal interactions.

Since 2013, more than 30 U.S. CNOs visited the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants in Japan to obtain a greater understanding of the events at each facility after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. They met with Japanese CNOs to strengthen support and engagement between the two countries’ nuclear energy programs.

In 2014, a second U.S.-Japanese meeting was held in Arizona. In addition to obtaining updates on safety enhancements in both countries, Japanese executives requested technical exchanges with U.S counterparts at the Sendai and Takahama nuclear facilities. These were conducted in November 2014.

A U.S.-Japanese CNO steering committee is organizing subcommittees on items of mutual interest identified during the Arizona meeting. This steering committee initially met in 2014 by video conference and continues to meet quarterly to discuss industry issues. This collaboration also includes the pairing of Japanese and U.S. electric companies to establish interactions between those companies.

These exchanges in Japan have been beneficial in providing U.S. executives with a visual perspective of the accident’s impact, and access to key management insights, including those of the Fukushima Daini site vice president and Fukushima Daiichi shift supervisor during the 2011 events. Personal relationships built during visits to Japan and through the pairing relationships have resulted in a continuous exchange of information among representatives of the two nations.

EDITOR'S NOTE: NEI Nuclear Notes provided a series of posts covering the 2013 CNO Summit in Japan, including two contributions from NEI COO Maria Korsnick, then serving as Chief Nuclear Officer of Constellation Energy.

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