- The Nuclear Energy Institute is urging the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to take into account the considerable resources required to comply with proposed information requests and orders to implement recommendations of the agency’s post‐Fukushima task force. In a comment letter to the agency, NEI has asked for a phased approach. “The NRC should ensure that the information requested is properly scoped and justified by safety significance to ensure responses to requests for information are timely and do not impose an unnecessary burden or distraction,” said Adrian Heymer, executive director of NEI’s Fukushima regulatory response team. “Requests should also be staggered to facilitate adequate review by knowledgeable or experienced personnel and allow for a phased response based on plant safety significance.”
- An independent parliamentary panel investigating the Fukushima Daiichi accident said it would release its final report by late July. The panel, which has subpoena powers, is to examine the government’s decision-making and communications processes and what it called “the chain of responsibility.” An interim report in December criticized the government’s evacuation procedures and operator Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s accident responses.
- The mayors of twelve towns in Fukushima Prefecture met last week to ask a government panel to quickly finalize its guidelines for Tokyo Electric Power Co. to compensate evacuees who cannot return to their homes until decontamination efforts are completed. NHK News reported that the mayors were voicing their frustration over the slow pace of payments and asked for the compensation to continue until evacuees could “resume living as they did before the accident.” Earlier in the week, 70 mayors of outlying municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture met with TEPCO executives asking compensation for residents’ emotional distress.
- An op-ed from Third Way’s Matt Bennett says the right lesson to be learned from Fukushima on the future of nuclear in the United States is that “it is far too risky for the U.S. not to keep nuclear energy as a significant part of our electric power mix.”
- An article from Bloomberg notes the economic risks for Japan as the country’s shutdown nuclear plants await central and local governmental permission to restart and costs to replace lost electricity generation continue to mount. Another piece in Bloomberg Businessweek notes that rising Japanese imports of oil and gas have resulted in the country’s first trade deficit since 1980 and that an exodus of manufacturing jobs overseas would exacerbate the situation.
- A report in Mainichi Daily News details the Japanese environment ministry’s plan to complete the decontamination of some areas in the Fukushima evacuation zone by March 2014, enabling residents to return to their homes. The plan aims to reduce annual radiation exposure in those areas from 5 rem to 2 rem.
- The Nuclear Energy Institute will meet with Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff in a Feb. 7 public meeting to discuss guidance on implementing NRC Fukushima near-term task force recommendations.