Safety and Security

Last November, we told you about how the employees at the Onagawa nuclear energy facility in Japan played a critical role in sheltering local residents in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck the island nation.

While the Onagawa facility remains safely shut down, its employees are still at work preparing for the day when the plant may come back online. In this video report from NHK World, Onagawa’s employees are participating in a tsunami drill using new equipment acquired in the aftermath of the accident at Fukushima. In other news, a delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency will be visiting Onagawa next week to begin a seismic inspection.

Local media took notice when Nebraska Public Power District trained Cooper Nuclear Station’s fire brigade at the fire training center in Bellvue, Neb.


Video posted to KETV’s YouTube channel.

Robinson radiation protection technicians Daren Cato and Ashley Lawrence pose with the facility’s Warrior robot.

Robinson radiation protection technicians pose with the facility’s Warrior robot. (Click to enlarge.)

For more than a decade, unmanned robots have been used to detect and dispose of bombs in war zones and to assist with recovery efforts in disaster areas. Since last March, they have been utilized to help clean up the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. Here in the United States, nuclear energy facilities are also beginning to introduce this technology to help keep workers out of areas where there may be elevated radiation levels. Leading the effort is the radiation protection team at Duke Energy’s Robinson Nuclear Plant in Hartsville, S.C., where robots conduct inspections and perform maintenance activities inside the facility, limiting worker exposure to radiation.

“Early last year, we set the vision that we wanted our radiation protection group to be the best in the industry and we saw this as one of the critical tools for us,” said Daren Cato, a radiation protection technician at Robinson who spearheaded the effort to bring robots to the facility. “We were impressed by what we saw at Fukushima, but it was also important to conduct a thorough selection process to ensure that chose the right robots for our facility,” Cato said.
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The following blog post originally appeared in NEI Nuclear Notes.

Yesterday, news broke that an independent investigation by the Japanese parliament has concluded that the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was a “man-made” failure that could be laid at the feet of both Tokyo Electric Power Company and the government. According to Tokyo University professor emeritus and Committee Chair Kiyoshi Kurokawa, the Fukushima accident “cannot be regarded as a natural disaster … It could and should have been foreseen and prevented. And its effects could have been mitigated by a more effective human response.”
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The following story originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

New requirements for post-Fukushima safety enhancements at French nuclear power plants will involve “considerable work and large-scale investments,” a report from the country’s nuclear regulator says.
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Activity ID: 1002943 Activity Name: NEI Remarketing Safety Activity Group Name: Remarketing Safety First