March 2012

Charles Pardee

Exelon Generation Co.'s Chief Operating Officer Charles Pardee

Guest Commentary by Charles Pardee
Chief Operating Officer of
Exelon Generation Co.
Chairman of the Fukushima Response Steering Committee

Nearly a year after a massive earthquake and tsunami disabled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, the U.S. nuclear energy industry remains dedicated to applying lessons learned from these events to enhance safety at the nation’s 104 reactors. Over the past year, both the industry and the independent U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), have systematically reviewed the events for applicable lessons and independently assessed areas to target for safety improvements at nuclear energy facilities. These reviews complemented ongoing safety inspections at nuclear energy facilities.

As part of these reviews, the U.S. nuclear industry:

  • verified that all systems to mitigate potential damage are functioning
  • completed inspections of systems that protect plants against extreme natural events
  • is enhancing protection of used fuel storage pools
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  • The Nuclear Energy Institute transmitted a letter last week to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission reiterating its strategy for implementing upcoming regulatory changes in response to lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident. By last Friday all five NRC commissioners had made public their unanimous votes to order nuclear energy utilities to establish a mitigation strategy for beyond-design-basis external events as well as to enhance Mark I and Mark II boiling water reactor venting systems and used fuel pool instrumentation. The orders are expected to be issued by the end of the week.
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Maria Korsnick, chief nuclear officer and chief operating officer for Constellation Energy Nuclear Group, talks about her personal commitment to keeping nuclear plants safe and how she fosters that same commitment through her employees by creating a questioning culture. Korsnick is also a member of the industry’s Fukushima Response Steering Committee.

Visit NEI’s YouTube channel to watch other videos with Maria Korsnick discussing the industry’s post-Fukushima strategy to increase safety at U.S. nuclear energy facilities. See also Kornick’s guest commentary, “Passion for Safety.”

Nearly a year after an earthquake and massive tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility in Japan, many U.S. experts still are in Japan assisting the recovery efforts.

The U.S. provided scores of radiation detectors and trained both the U.S. military and Japanese personnel on how to use them.

The U.S. provided scores of radiation detectors and trained both the U.S. military and Japanese personnel on how to use them.

U.S. organizations with expertise and capabilities in nuclear energy mobilized quickly and offered critical help in the aftermath of the natural disaster on March 11, 2011. While some lent equipment and expertise, others responded with humanitarian aid for residents left homeless by nature’s destruction.

Radiation specialists from the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory were among the first people on the ground in Japan. Experts from the lab’s Radiological Assistance Program (RAP), who are on call to respond to any release of radiological materials in the United States, took hundreds of radiation readings and collected soil samples in the region around the stricken Japanese plant.

The data and samples they gathered will assist Japan’s recovery and provide a more detailed understanding of the radiological aspects of the accident. The U.S. provided scores of radiation detectors and trained both the U.S. military and Japanese personnel on how to use them.
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The following story originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

Radiation health experts said at a Washington press briefing that based on the radiological data collected, the health effects of the Fukushima accident should be very minimal for both the public and workers.

“From a radiological perspective, we expect the impact to be really, really minor,” said Kathyrn Higley, professor of radiation health physics in the department of nuclear engineering at Oregon State University. “And the reason for that is we understand how radionuclides move through the environment, how they disperse and how people can be exposed. Because we understand that we are able to make decisions to block exposure.”
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Activity ID: 1002943 Activity Name: NEI Remarketing Safety Activity Group Name: Remarketing Safety First