Skip to main content

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.


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…

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

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.


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…