- The International Atomic Energy Agency says its member nations have reported “significant progress” in nuclear safety in the past year, including assessments of safety vulnerabilities at nuclear energy facilities, emergency preparedness and response, and enhanced communications among member nations, international organizations and the public. The IAEA’s assessment comes in a progress report on the agency’s Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, which was unanimously endorsed last September as a follow-up to the Fukushima nuclear accident. The report will be presented at the organization’s annual General Conference in Vienna next month.
- A bipartisan group of U.S. foreign policy experts that includes former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has released a report saying the United States and Japan should continue to cooperate in promoting nuclear energy technology. The paper welcomes Japan’s decision to partially resume nuclear energy generation following the Fukushima disaster, adding, “Safe, clean, responsibly developed and utilized nuclear power constitutes an essential element in Japan’s comprehensive security.”
- The Washington Post reports that the residents of Minamisoma town, 14 miles north of Fukushima Daiichi, have been found to have very low levels of radiation contamination. In the first study of internal radiation dose since the accident, measurements were taken of the full-body contamination from cesium exposure of about 10,000 residents who had elected to stay in the town between September 2011 and March 2012. The study found that two-thirds of the residents had no detectable levels of cesium. Of the rest, only one received an equivalent dose more than 100 millirem. The results were published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (subscription required).
- An adaptation from Richard Muller’s book “Energy for Future Presidents,” explaining how radiation dose effects are frequently overestimated in the media, appears in the Wall Street Journal.
- Bloomberg reports how Japan’s power-saving measures this summer are affecting worker productivity. Office workers are toiling in 82-degree building environments where the lights are also frequently dimmed. Other measures mentioned in the article include idled escalators, darkened train stations, and senior executives and government ministers in Hawaiian shirts and sandals.
- The National Academy of Sciences will hold its second meeting on lessons learned from Fukushima on Sept. 6-7 in Washington, D.C. The meeting is to be webcast.
- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a meeting on the economic consequences of land contamination from a severe reactor accident on Sept. 11. The meeting will be webcast.