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Monday Update

From NEI’s Japan micro-site:

New Cooling Water System Lowering Temperature in Reactor 4 Fuel Storage Pool

Aug. 1, 2011

Plant Status

  • Cooling water temperature in the Fukushima Daiichi reactor 4 used fuel storage pool is returning to normal after Tokyo Electric Power Co. began operating a new recirculating cooling water system. The new system is expected to bring the temperature of the pool down to about 104 degrees Fahrenheit, about 80 degrees cooler than it has been since the pool’s circulating water system was damaged in March. The company has been relying on water injection by a variety of means, most recently through a piping system installed along the exterior of the reactor building. Recirculating cooling systems already are cooling the used fuel storage pools at reactors 2 and 3. TEPCO plans to install a similar system for reactor 1.
  • TEPCO has installed a new system to decontaminate and recycle radioactive water at the Fukushima Daiichi facility. The company began testing the equipment over the weekend and expects to begin full-scale operations in the coming days. The Japanese-made system will supplement a U.S.-French system that has been operating since last month.
  • TEPCO reported that levels of radioactive cesium in the seawater near reactors 2 and 3 are no longer rising. Cesium had been leaking into the ocean from the plant, but TEPCO believes the leak has been halted.

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

  • In response to a call from Goshi Hosono, minister for nuclear crisis management, the Japan Atomic Energy Commission has established an advisory committee to develop medium- to long-term measures for the recovery of the Fukushima Daiichi site. The committee also will identify technology needed to aid in long-term recovery efforts, including removal of used fuel, management of radioactive waste and site decommissioning.
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems has published a report on technical lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident. The report recommends that the U.S. nuclear industry take a “measured and rational” approach to energy policy and questions whether decision-makers can take a risk-informed approach to energy policy.

Media Highlights

  • An NEI video news release—an excerpt of a recent briefing by NEI President and CEO Marvin Fertel to Wall Street analysts—summarizes the industry's response to events at Fukushima Daiichi and the industry’s view of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s 90-day Fukushima task force report.
  • A front-page article in today’s edition of The New York Times looks at the use of dosimeters to measure radiation levels among the Japanese citizenry.

Upcoming Events

  • All five NRC commissioners will testify at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee joint hearing Aug. 2 to review the NRC’s near-term task force recommendations for enhancing reactor safety following the events at Fukushima Daiichi.
The Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a discussion with policymakers and experts on the potential ramifications of the Fukushima incident and how new insights may be incorporated into U.S. regulations and operations. The Aug. 3 event will feature NRC Commissioner George Apostolakis, Exelon Generation Chief Operating Officer Chip Pardee and Westinghouse America President Jim Ferland. Former New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici will provide an opening statement, and former Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Warren “Pete” Miller will moderate the session.

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