March 2012

The following story originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

More than half of Americans support nuclear energy, the same as before the accident at Fukushima Daiichi, according to a new Gallup poll.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they favored nuclear energy, identical to the result of a Gallup survey completed just before the accident in Japan.

“Although attitudes may have shifted in the immediate aftermath of last year’s incident, attitudes now are almost identical to those measured in last year’s pre-disaster survey,” Gallup said in a press release.
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Plant Update

  • Preliminary results of an endoscopic examination of the interior of Fukushima Daiichi reactor 2 indicates that the water covering the damaged fuel at the bottom of the containment vessel is two feet deep. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said they were expecting the water level to be at least six feet, though the company said it is satisfied that the damaged fuel is being adequately cooled. TEPCO says it also will measure radiation levels inside the vessel to develop equipment needed to eventually decommission the reactor. Further details of the endoscopic campaign are available on TEPCO’s website here.
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The following story originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has requested public input on potential revisions to the station blackout rule based on lessons from Fukushima, saying it is open to “flexible, performance-based strategies” that would meet safety needs.

The NRC’s 1988 rule (10 CFR 50.63) requires nuclear energy facilities to cope with the loss of off-site and on-site electricity—other than emergency batteries or alternate sources—for a specific duration based on site-specific factors. The coping time for each facility is based on the extent and reliability of a site’s emergency power sources, the frequency of blackouts, and the time needed to restore electricity. The rule assumes the power loss results from problems in the switchyard or transmission system or the effects of severe weather.
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The following story originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

Use of nuclear energy will continue “to play a full part in the future energy mix” despite the accident in Japan, a new report says.

The report, by the World Energy Council, notes that the growth of nuclear energy is mainly being driven by non-OECD countries, “the very countries that are seeing ever rising energy demand.” These countries account for 39 of the 63 nuclear plants being built worldwide.

Very little has changed, especially in non-OECD countries, in respect of the future utilization of nuclear in the energy mix,” the report says.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission said last week that Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Ohi reactors 3 and 4 are safe to restart. The commissioners and a team of outside experts agreed with the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency that KEPCO’s stress test results for the reactors are satisfactory. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and three cabinet ministers will use the NSC recommendation to decide on restarting the facilities. Under agreements made by utilities, local governments also have approval rights to restart the reactors. NISA is evaluating the results of stress tests for 16 other reactors.
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