- An independent review of lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear plants in the aftermath of last year’s earthquake and tsunami, conducted by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations at the request of Tokyo Electric Power Co., says that reactor operators should allocate resources and training to prepare for unexpected circumstances. Priorities identified include maintaining reactor cooling and multi-unit emergency response capabilities and continually strengthening nuclear safety cultures. Tony Pietrangelo, NEI’s senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, said, “For the U.S. nuclear industry, our first priority is and always will be safety. INPO’s findings are aligned with steps already being taken to enhance safety across our industry.”
- Kansai Electric Power Co. said last week it wants to restart two reactors at its Takahama energy facility, now that two reactors at its Ohi plant in the Fukui prefecture have gone into full operation. The decision on restarting any of Japan’s 48 remaining reactors will rest with the new nuclear regulator to be established in September. The restart of Ohi reactors 3 and 4 has reduced the need to import electricity from neighboring regions, allowing the government to lift power-saving targets for the service areas of three other utilities.
- A meeting last week of representatives from the U.S. nuclear industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission indicated that implementation of top-priority post-Fukushima safety enhancements is proceeding smoothly. Industry executives and NRC officials discussed issues related to flooding and seismic hazard re-evaluations. The NRC staff also released a paper outlining planned schedules and milestones for implementing longer-term Fukushima-related regulatory changes.
- Tokyo Electric Power Co. last week revised its “facility management plan” for the Fukushima Daiichi site. Changes include a plan to install a new filtration system by September that will remove up to 62 different radioactive elements from the stored contaminated water that is being recycled through the reactors’ cooling systems.
- Reuters, among other media outlets, notes the conclusion by the International Atomic Energy Agency that global nuclear energy growth is expected to continue, especially in Asia, despite a temporary pause due to the Fukushima accident—what an IAEA official called a “speed bump.”
- The Washington Post reports on Japan’s record $37 billion trade deficit in the first half of 2012, a result of increased fossil fuel imports and slumping exports. The BBC notes that TEPCO suffered a $3.7 billion loss in the first quarter of 2012 from importing fossil fuels and making compensation payments to evacuees from the Fukushima area.
- NEI’s Safety First website has published a new graphic explaining the different filtering strategies available to prevent the release of potentially harmful materials in the event of an accident at a U.S. nuclear energy facility.
- The Safety First website also features PSEG Nuclear Fukushima Response Manager Jamie Mallon, who explains how his company is putting in place additional safety features as part of the industry’s “FLEX” strategy to respond to severe unanticipated accidents.
- The NRC will hold a public briefing Aug. 7 on the status of lessons learned from Fukushima Daiichi. The meeting will be webcast.