August 2011

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

  • Licensing for new U.S. reactors is proceeding according to schedule, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in letters to electric utilities in Georgia and South Carolina. The agency expects to issue a final safety report this month on Georgia Power’s two advanced reactors to be built at the Vogtle plant in Burke County, Ga. It could approve a construction and operating license before the end of this year. The NRC told South Carolina Electric & Gas that the utility’s application to build two reactors near Jenkinsville, S.C., is complete and that a final safety review should be finished by September. The agency then could approve a construction and operating license for the facility by January.   Read More »

Plant Status

  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it has detected radiation levels of at least 1,000 rem per hour at the base of an exhaust pipe between reactor buildings 1 and 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. It is the highest radiation level detected at the site. The pipe was used to vent air from the reactor containment the day after the accident began on March 11. TEPCO also detected radiation of 500 rem per hour on the second floor of the reactor 1 building, the highest level found indoors since the accident. TEPCO has restricted access to both areas. These levels of radiation are not unexpected.  As recovery efforts proceed, more extensive and detailed radiation surveys are being conducted. Given the severity of events at the site, it would not be surprising if similarly high radiation levels were measured in some areas of the plant in the future. Radiation assessment is important work that will continue. These surveys help ensure that proper safety measures are implemented before workers enter previously inaccessible areas of the facility.
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Ralph Andersen

Radiation Safety & Environmental Protection Senior Director Ralph Andersen

News emanating from Japan (Reuters: “Pockets of high radiation remind of Fukushima plant danger“) that recovery crews at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have found the highest radiation levels since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami occurred was inevitable.

As recovery efforts proceed, more extensive and detailed radiation surveys are being conducted. Given the severity of events at the site, it would not be surprising if even higher radiation levels were measured in some areas of the plant at a future time.

This is important work that has to continue. The surveys help assure that proper safety measures are implemented before workers enter previously inaccessible areas of the facility.

Ralph Andersen, CHP
Senior Director, Radiation Safety and Environmental Protection
Nuclear Energy Institute

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.
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Activity ID: 1002943 Activity Name: NEI Remarketing Safety Activity Group Name: Remarketing Safety First