Skip to main content

Friday Update

From NEI’s Japan earthquake launch page:

Plant Status

  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) continues working toward a solution for managing radioactive water at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. The company has suspended transferring water from the reactor turbine buildings to a centralized radiation waste treatment facility because that complex has reached its capacity. The company also reported a leak in the water treatment facility that must be fixed before the transfer of water from the turbine buildings can continue. A new water treatment facility is expected to begin service June 15 at the plant.
  • TEPCO began spraying a synthetic resin dust inhibitor onto the walls and roof of the reactor 1 turbine building and other areas at the site as one way of reducing the release of radioactive material. Plans are to spray the resin onto the reactor and turbine buildings of reactors 1-4.
  • A minor electrical fire in the basement of a building at Fukushima Daini reactor 1 was quickly extinguished with no injuries. The reactors at the Daini plant have been safely shut down since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

  • NEI President and CEO Marvin Fertel, Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Poneman, Institute of Nuclear Power Operations President and CEO Jim Ellis, and NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko will speak at a May 31 conference sponsored by the Center for Transatlantic Relations and The Atlantic Council, "After Fukushima: The Future of Nuclear Energy in the United States and Europe." Also speaking at the Washington, D.C., event are former Congressman Lee Hamilton and the ambassadors of France, Germany and the European Union.
  • At the G8 summit May 26, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan proposed that Japan host an international nuclear safety summit later this year. He said Japan would fully support International Atomic Energy Agency safety standards and would work to strengthen the Convention on Nuclear Safety. "Many among the G8 think that there is no alternative to nuclear power, even if we are convinced of the need to develop alternative energy, renewable energy," said French President Nicolas Sarkozy. "But we all want to give ourselves a very high level of regulation on nuclear safety that applies to all countries wishing to use civilian nuclear power to make the safety levels the highest ever known," he said.
  • Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) has admonished TEPCO for failing to prevent the exposure of two clerical workers at the plant to levels of radiation three times above the annual limit.
  • The Japanese government announced plans to reduce radiation levels at school grounds in Fukushima prefecture to below 100 millirem per year, shifting from its previous limit of 20 times that amount after local parents protested. Possible measures include removing topsoil at the schools and individual monitoring of radiation for students.
  • Fukushima prefecture has conducted full-body radioactive screenings of more than 190,000 people since March 13-about one-tenth of the prefecture's population. In addition, Japan's science ministry will survey radiation levels at more than 2,200 locations within Fukushima prefecture and will draw up a map of soil contamination.
Media Highlights
  • NEI sent 10 tweets to the news media from Thursday's meeting of the National Academies of Sciences' Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board. The featured remarks from NEI's president and chief executive officer Marvin Fertel and NRC Commissioner George Apostolakis can be found on NEI's @NEI_media Twitter account.
  • NEI participated in a live interview about the implications of the Fukushima accident on NTN24 TV broadcast in South America.

Upcoming Events

  • The International Atomic Energy Agency's 10-day fact-finding mission in Japan began May 25 and ends June 2. Team leader Mike Weightman, the United Kingdom's chief nuclear safety inspector, is to present a report at the IAEA's ministerial conference on nuclear safety June 20 in Vienna. The United States has one representative on the IAEA team.
  • The American Association for the Advancement of Science will host a session on the Challenges of Nuclear Spent Fuel Management: Lessons from Around the World at 3 p.m. EDT June 3 in Washington, D.C.

Comments

Karen Street said…
Thanks for your updates, but please, please, use mSv (perhaps mrem could go in parenthesis). The media use mSv and it's confusing to go back and forth—and if it's not confusing, then you could just make the switch!
Joffan said…
Hear, hear, Karen.

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 Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…