December 2012

Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has recommended requiring engineered filters to the containment vents for Mark I and Mark II boiling water reactors as a post-Fukushima response. A staff paper released this week for the commission’s consideration said an alternative performance-based approach to filtering preferred by industry and by the NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards would work but take too long to implement.
  • Japan’s pro-nuclear energy Liberal Democratic Party won a landslide victory Dec. 16, taking 294 of the 480 seats in the lower chamber of parliament, despite voters’ relatively negative view of nuclear energy. A poll by the Japanese national newspaper Asahi Shimbun found that 16 percent of voters want to scrap nuclear energy immediately, 28 think it should be phased out and 15 percent support continuing to use nuclear energy. The newspaper concluded that voters did not consider nuclear energy a key issue in the race.
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NRC staff has recommended requiring engineered filters to the containment vents for early-model boiling water reactors as a post-Fukushima response.

A staff paper (SECY-12-0157) released this week for the commission’s consideration said an alternative performance-based approach to filtering preferred by industry and by the NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards would work but take too long to implement.

The commission had directed agency staff (SRM-SECY-11-0137) to consider whether adding external filters at the same time as reliable hardened containment vents for Mark I and II boiling water reactors would help limit significant radiation releases from severe accidents.

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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority said Monday that its survey of a second fault zone directly beneath one of two reactors at the Tsuruga nuclear energy facility in Fukui prefecture found it likely to be seismically active. NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said that, given the results, “there is no way we can carry out safety assessments for a restart.” The NRA team said reactor 2 may have to be decommissioned by the plant operator, although the agency only has the authority to bar the plant from restarting.

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The NRC has issued its final interim staff guidance describing one acceptable method for conducting integrated assessments of external flooding hazards at nuclear energy facilities. The guidance is intended for use in cases where a re-evaluation of the flooding hazard exceeds levels defined by the utilities’ flooding design basis.

The new guidance, JLD-ISG-2012-05, is the latest in a large volume of work the NRC staff is developing to address lessons learned from the 2011 reactor accident in Japan. Interim staff guidance clarifies issues that are not addressed in the standard review plan for nuclear energy facilities.

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A 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck Japan overnight, triggering tsunami warnings across the island nation. The warnings were lifted soon after and the quake caused very little damage.

We’ve got out eyes on the situation at Fukushima Daiichi, and things there look quiet according to ABC News: “No damage has been reported at monitoring posts and water treatment facilities at the reactors … All the workers were moved to higher ground on the site and told to stay inside after the tsunami warning.”

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