In This Section
UPDATE AS OF 4 P.M., WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29
Cooling System Restarted After Leaks
- Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has repaired faulty hoses and restarted the new cooling system for the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. The system resumed operations after the repair. The system, which on June 27 began circulating decontaminated water through reactors 1, 2 and 3, had developed leaks in pipes and hoses shortly after it was activated.
UPDATE AS OF 5 P.M., MONDAY, JUNE 27
Cooling Water Recycling Partially Restored at Fukushima Daiichi
- Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has partially restored a cooling water recycling system at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. Of the 16 tons of water injected per hour to cool reactors 1, 2 and 3, 13 tons are decontaminated water that has been processed through this system. In its first two weeks of operation, the water treatment system has processed about 1,850 tons of radioactive water that had accumulated at the plant. TEPCO suspended operations a number of times during test runs because of problems with a device that removes radioactive substances and subsequently switched to a different material that absorbs radiation. Goshi Hosono, an adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Kan, said that although the cooling system has not been fully restored from a pump failure last Saturday, the start of recycling cooling water is an important step toward stabilizing the reactors.
UPDATE AS OF 5 P.M., FRIDAY, JUNE 24
Japanese Minister Calls for Restart of Nuclear Plants to Ease Electricity Supply Shortages
- Tokyo Electric Power Co. is continuing efforts to reduce the accumulation of radioactive water from cooling operations at Fukushima Daiichi reactors 1, 2 and 3. With reactor temperatures stabilizing, the company is reducing the water injection flow rate into the reactors. The total inflow rate is now about 386 tons per day. Heavy rains are challenging TEPCO’s effort to contain water accumulating onsite.
UPDATE AS OF 5 P.M.EDT, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 22
Pillars Installed To Support Used Fuel Pool
- Tokyo Electric Power Co. workers have installed 32 steel pillars to support the reactor 4 spent fuel pool at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility and improve its capability to withstand earthquakes. The company next will wrap the pillars in concrete. It plans to finish the project by the end of July. The walls supporting the pool sustained damage in a hydrogen explosion four days after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. TEPCO reported earlier that analysis shows the reactor 4 building meets seismic requirements in its current condition, but shoring up the pool will provide an additional safety margin.
UPDATE AS OF 5 P.M.EDT, MONDAY, JUNE 20
Fukushima Daiichi Water Filtration System Testing Continues
- Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) is working to restart full-scale tests of the water filtration system it will use to decontaminate and recycle radioactive water that has flooded the basements of buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. The system went into full operation on Friday but was shut down after five hours when radiation levels rose more quickly than anticipated in the part of the system that removes oil and sludge. TEPCO may add more equipment to remove oil or lower the water flow rate through the system. Cooling water injections into reactors 1, 2 and 3 are accumulating in the building basements at the rate of 500 tons per day, and could overflow in about a week if the decontamination system is not functional by then.
UPDATE AS OF 3 P.M.EDT, FRIDAY, JUNE 17
Used Fuel Pool at Fukushima Did Not Go Dry, NRC Staff Concludes
- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff said it now appears the agency was mistaken in its early conclusion that the used fuel pool at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor 4 may have lost all cooling water. “According to the latest information, it is unlikely it ever went completely dry,” said William Borchardt, NRC executive director for operations, in a progress briefing Wednesday for the NRC commissioners. Concern about the potential for overheating in the pool was a factor in the NRC’s conservative call for U.S. citizens to evacuate as far as 50 miles from the plant, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko told a congressional committee yesterday. “We are continuing to review and re-evaluate the 50-mile recommendation,” he said.
UPDATE AS OF 3 P.M.EDT, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15
New Filters Remove Radiation from Seawater
- Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has begun full operation of seawater filtering systems near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. Installed near the water intakes of reactors 2 and 3, the filters absorb radioactive cesium then return the water to the ocean. Tests indicate the system reduces cesium levels by 20 percent to 30 percent. TEPCO is seeking ways to increase the filtering capability.
- Japan’s health ministry has ordered TEPCO to release from duty 23 workers who had been exposed internally to more than 10 rem of radiation early in the accident. The ministry took the precaution because the employees’ continued work at the facility could result in exposure beyond the temporary 25 rem limit. The limit was raised in March from 10 rem to the emergency level of 25 rem. TEPCO said earlier that two workers were exposed to more than 60 rem and announced on Monday that six more were believed to have been exposed to up to 50 rem. TEPCO is screening 3,700 workers for exposure.
- TEPCO has completed tests on a U.S.-made system that will be used to absorb radioactive cesium from water that has accumulated in various locations at the Fukushima Daiichi site and has also begun tests of a French-manufactured water-treatment device. The company plans to begin full operation of the systems by Friday. More than 105,000 tons of radioactive water has accumulated at the facility. The U.S.-based water treatment system is from Kurion Inc. and the French system is from AREVA.
- Inspection of farmland in the no-entry zone around Fukushima Daiichi will begin next month. Rice planting has been suspended within an 18.5-mile radius of the plant and no agricultural products are being shipped from within the no-entry zone. Government officials will study soil in the area in response to concerns from residents who have inquired about the status of their farmland.
- TEPCO plans to install rooftop vents for the seven reactor buildings at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear energy facility in north central Japan. The vents are designed to prevent hydrogen from building up during an emergency. Hydrogen build-up caused explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi facility in March.
- The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission conducted a briefing today on the progress of the short-term task force reviewing NRC processes and regulations following the events in Japan. Slides prepared for the briefing said that capabilities already in place for dealing with potential large fires and explosions could be useful for other events, such as station blackout conditions. The near-term task force will recommend actions and propose topics for longer-term review at a July 19 commission meeting.
- The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold an oversight hearing June 16 on preliminary results of the NRC’s safety review at America’s nuclear energy facilities. Witnesses include all five NRC commissioners.
- Doug Walters, NEI’s vice president of regulatory affairs, participated in an extensive interview this week with Voice of America’s “Voice of Russia,” which focused on U.S. nuclear plant safety in light of the events at Fukushima Daiichi. Walters analyzed the accident in Japan and provided a status update on the ability of U.S. nuclear plants to cope with a similar situation
- International Atomic Energy Agency ministerial conference on nuclear safety, June 20-24, Vienna, Austria.
- Japan-America Society, “The Future of Nuclear Energy Around the World,” June 23, Washington, D.C.
UPDATE AS OF 5 P.M.EDT, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13
TEPCO To Test Water Filtration System
- Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) says it will test a new water treatment system on Tuesday at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. The company had planned to check the equipment last weekend, but the system was running too slowly to complete the test. The system is designed to treat 1,200 tons of contaminated water per day.
- The company injected cooling water into reactor 3 for about two hours on June 13, accompanied by injections of hydrazine, which is a corrosion inhibitor. Pressure and temperature conditions of reactors 1, 2 and 3 are stable, according to reports. The company has begun installing a temporary cover over the reactor 1 building that will help prevent the dispersal of radioactive material. Also on June 13, TEPCO started operation of a circulating seawater purification facility installed at the water intake screen area of reactors 2 and 3.
- TEPCO is taking steps to protect the 2,500 workers at the Fukushima Daiichi site from heat-related illness during the summer. Seven additional air-conditioned rest areas will be set up to supplement the eight that are already in operation. Other measures include the use of vests containing cooling gel to be worn underneath protective gear and 1,300 face masks that provide additional air ventilation.
- The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will conduct a briefing June 15 on the progress of the task force reviewing NRC processes and regulations following the events in Japan. The event will be webcast live.
- Two long-term studies on the health effects of the Fukushima accident are planned, according to the World Health Organization. The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation will begin a yearlong study on the magnitude of radioactive releases to the atmosphere and ocean and the range of radiation doses received by the public and workers. The Fukushima prefecture will begin a “several decades”-long epidemiological survey of all Fukushima residents. The survey will include data-gathering on demographics, health conditions and geographic information to estimate cumulative radiation doses.
- All schoolchildren in the Fukushima prefecture will receive radiation measurement devices, Japan’s Ministry of Education said. The government intends to limit cumulative radiation exposure to schoolchildren to 100 millirem per year or less. That is the same level for public radiation exposure set by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Local municipalities and schools are taking additional measures to reduce radiation exposure of schoolchildren.
- An adviser to Japan’s prime minister said officials from Japan and the United States will meet weekly to discuss recovery activities at Fukushima Daiichi. At a press conference earlier this month, he said the U.S. government offered assistance immediately after the nuclear accident and that the United States had provided considerable equipment and supplies to support Japanese efforts to stabilize the Fukushima Daiichi reactors.
- The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold an oversight hearing June 16 on preliminary results of the NRC’s safety review at America’s nuclear energy facilities. Witnesses include all five NRC commissioners.
- “For companies with nuclear energy assets, the events at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in Japan are a stark reminder that nuclear energy is one industry, bound together by a technology that is both remarkable and demanding. Our commitment to safety must be equally demanding, as should our commitment to international cooperation and assistance,” NEI president and CEO Marvin Fertel writes in a column in the May/June issue of Electric Perspectives.
UPDATE AS OF 3:30 P.M. EDT, FRIDAY, JUNE 10
Test Run Begins for Water Filtration System at Fukushima Daiichi
- Starting Friday, June 10, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) will begin a weeklong test run of the new water filtration system it intends to use to decontaminate and reuse the 105,000 tons of highly radioactive water that has flooded the facilities at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The system is expected to reduce concentrations of radioactive materials in the water by a factor of up to 1 million. Oil and salt will be also removed. Contaminated water is accumulating at a rate of 500 tons per day as cooling water is injected into the reactors. The system is expected to treat 1,200 tons of water a day and should aid TEPCO’s efforts to control water management issues at the plant. There are growing fears that the contaminated water could otherwise start overflowing the plant basements by late June.
- TEPCO reports that two of its workers have received radiation doses exceeding the company’s limit of 25 rem. The results of analyses showed the workers’ total doses were above 60 rem, accompanied by elevated thyroid iodine-131 levels. TEPCO anticipates no acute health effects for the workers, who have been transferred to the Fukushima Daini site. A third TEPCO worker is being evaluated after elevated thyroid radioiodine levels were reported.
- The company is again using a concrete pumping truck to spray dust inhibitor on the roof and walls of the turbine buildings of reactors 1 and 2. The dust inhibitor is a synthetic resin that prevents the dispersion of radioactive materials.
- TEPCO reports that as summer temperatures climb, the company is improving working conditions for recovery workers at the Fukushima Daiichi site. Eight air-conditioned rest areas are now in operation on-site where workers can temporarily remove their protective gear during rest periods. Four more rest areas are under construction.
- TEPCO is setting up two accident investigation committees, one internal to the company and the other composed of outside experts from Japanese universities, the Tohoku radiological science center and a consumer agency. Both committees are expected to be established by June 11.
- About 8,000 schoolchildren in Date City in Fukushima prefecture will be given personal dosimeters to monitor their radiation exposure. Thirty-eight miles from Fukushima Daiichi, the city is currently outside the evacuation zone. However, earlier this month estimated radiation levels at three locations exceeded the government’s evacuation level of 2 rem per year. The town’s mayor decided to take the measure when local parents expressed concerns about their children’s radiation exposure. The Japanese government promised to consider local people’s wishes when deciding to order further evacuations.
- The Japanese government’s emergency task force published its preliminary report on lessons learned from the Fukushima accident. Among its recommendations is to establish the independence of Japan’s nuclear regulator, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The report will be presented at a high-level ministerial conference on nuclear safety at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna June 20.
- A forum of G8 and OECD Nuclear Energy Agency members this week published their post-Fukushima recommendations for national nuclear regulators. Their report will also be presented at the June 20 IAEA ministerial conference.
- A dozen reporters, including journalists with The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg business wire and National Geographic magazine attended the news conference that NEI organized Thursday to announce the formation of a leadership structure among electric sector organizations to coordinate and oversee the industry’s response to the Fukushima Daiichi accident. For more information on the press conference, see The Times’ blog coverage of the press event.
- NEI’s chief nuclear officer, Tony Pietrangelo, participated this week in a taped, 30-minute panel discussion on Fukushima implications that will air on public television in July. The “Ideas in Action” program is hosted by one of Washington’s more thoughtful commentators, Jim Glassman. An exact air date is not yet known.
- NEI’s report on the new electric-sector leadership structure to coordinate the industry’s response to Fukushima, “The Way Forward: U.S. Industry Leadership in Response to the Accidents at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant,” has been posted on the NEI website.
- The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is holding a June 15 briefing on the progress of the task force reviewing NRC processes and regulations the events in Japan. The event will be webcast live.
- The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a June 16 oversight hearing on preliminary results of the NRC’s nuclear safety review in the United States following the emergency at Fukushima Daiichi. Witnesses are to include all five NRC commissioners.
UPDATE AS OF 3 P.M. EDT, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8
Radioactive Debris, Water Slow Work at Fukushima
- Highly radioactive debris and water continue to hamper recovery efforts at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. TEPCO had removed about 280 containers of radioactive debris by Tuesday, which includes clearing the way for entry into the building for reactor 3. Now that workers can enter the building, TEPCO plans to inject nitrogen gas into the reactor 3 containment to stabilize the reactor.
- Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said fuel rods in reactors 1 and 2 at Fukushima Daiichi began to be exposed sooner after the accident began than previously estimated. NISA said cooling water levels fell below the top of uranium fuel inside reactor 1 two hours after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disabled the facility’s cooling systems. In a separate estimate, NISA said that between 800 and 1,000 kilograms of hydrogen was produced in each of reactors 1, 2 and 3 after the fuel rods were damaged. Shortly after the accident began, hydrogen was ignited in each of those containment buildings.
- The NRC this week issued results of inspections conducted as part of the agency’s post-Fukushima short-term task force. The inspections found that all 104 U.S. nuclear reactors have implemented voluntary severe accident management guidelines, developed in the late 1990s to enhance their ability to protect the public even if accidents were to damage the reactor core.
- The NRC commissioners will receive a progress report from the task force that is reviewing NRC processes and regulations following events in Japan in a public meeting on June 15. The task force has been examining short-term issues for two months and will issue its final report in July, when a new study will begin to address long-term issues.
- Ed Halpin, president and chief executive officer at South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Co., is scheduled to speak in Paris today at a meeting on nuclear safety of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Yesterday, representatives of 30 nations called for stringent stress tests of the world’s nuclear reactors to help prevent an accident like the one at Fukushima Daiichi. Delegates agreed on the need for international cooperation in the event of a serious accident but stopped short of recommending cross-border inspection programs.
- A Japanese government report lists 28 lessons the government has learned from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. Written for a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency later this month, the report includes the following categories: preventive measures against a severe accident, measures against severe accidents, nuclear emergency response, safety infrastructure and safety culture.
- Japan’s nuclear regulator has asked nuclear facility operators across the country to report on their plans for response to potential Fukushima-like accidents. Proposed measures include having portable lights, communication equipment and generator trucks on hand. The deadline for submitting the plans is June 14.
- Japanese officials are debating what constitutes a safe radiation exposure level for people who live near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility, The New York Times reports.
- The Financial Times examined the possible international response to the Fukushima Daiichi events in a full-page report on June 7.
- A news conference to announce the creation of a U.S. nuclear energy industry leadership structure that will coordinate ongoing industry response to the Fukushima Daiichi accident will be held at 1:30 p.m. June 9 at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C.
UPDATE AS OF 4 P.M. EDT, MONDAY, JUNE 6
TEPCO Continuing to Manage Water Issues at Fukushima Daiichi
- Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) is testing a filtering system it will use to decontaminate highly radioactive water at the Fukushima Daiichi site. More than 105,000 metric tons (28 million gallons) of contaminated water has collected in the basements of the reactor and turbine buildings from reactor cooling operations and is accumulating at a rate of 500 tons per day, the company said. The filtering system, expected to begin operating June 15, will decontaminate this water, enabling storage in temporary tanks for reuse as cooling water. Two hundred and seventy tanks with a combined capacity of nearly 8 million gallons are to be installed at the facility.
- A newly installed gauge at Fukushima Daiichi reactor 1 shows pressure inside the reactor close to atmospheric, confirming that the pressure vessel has been damaged. Additionally, two robots detected high radiation levels (300 to 400 rem/hour) from below the floor of the reactor 1 building. TEPCO plans to install new pressure gauges at reactors 2 and 3 to reconfirm readings inside those reactors.
- The company continues work to reduce the humidity inside the reactor 2 building to allow workers focused on recovery to enter the building for more than very short periods. TEPCO reports that humidity levels inside the building continue to be very high even after it had reduced the pool temperature through a system it installed last week to recirculate water. The company originally believed the used fuel pool was the source of the humidity.
- A gubernatorial candidate promoting more nuclear reactors beat a rival who wanted to freeze them in a quake-hit northern prefecture Sunday, as Japan’s troubled nuclear energy industry faced its first major ballot-box test since the Fukushima Daiichi accident, The Wall Street Journal reported today. Shingo Mimura, the incumbent governor running for his third term, easily won the election against a former prefectural assembly member endorsed by Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s ruling Democratic Party of Japan. The challenger, until recently a supporter of nuclear power himself, during the final weeks of the campaign had called for putting plans for new power plants on hold.
- The U.S. Department of Energy is sponsoring a June 6-7 workshop on preliminary lessons learned from the Fukushima accident at Crystal City, Va. Participants include DOE Deputy Secretary Dan Poneman, Assistant Secretaries Inez Triay and Peter Lyons, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Robert Budnitz and NRC Commissioner William Ostendorff.
- Japan’s science ministry has begun sampling soil to develop a map showing radioactive contamination in the Fukushima prefecture. More than 2,200 samples will be taken throughout the prefecture by the end of June, and the report is to be released in August.
- Dr. Patrick Moore, Clean and Safe Energy Coalition co-chair and Greenpeace co-founder, speaks at the Bloomberg Japan Conference today at the Japan Society in New York City. Dr. Moore’s topic is “The Case for Nuclear Energy in Light of Fukushima.”
- A government panel on nuclear waste disposal established by Japan’s environment ministry has decided to allow municipalities to burn highly radioactive debris if they have incinerators that can remove the radioactive substances.
- The Wall Street Journal reported today that the Japanese government has revised its estimate of radiation released from Fukushima Daiichi the first week after the earthquake. The article, “Japan Raises Estimate of Initial Radiation Release,” points out that “the latest figure is still only about 10 percent of the radiation released from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.”
- The International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors meeting opens June 6 with a focus on the Fukushima nuclear accident.
- The NRC will hold a public meeting June 8 to hear a petition to suspend the operating licenses of General Electric Mark 1 boiling water reactors in the United States.
UPDATE AS OF 2:30 P.M. EDT, FRIDAY, JUNE 3
TEPCO Steps Up Water Management, Cleanup
- Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has reported that more than 100,000 tons of contaminated water has leaked from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi reactors. Given concerns over the spreading of contamination during the rainy season, the company is focused on storage and filtering. TEPCO plans to start using equipment that can filter 1,200 tons of water a day in mid-June. In mid-August, the company plans to install an underground storage tank that can hold 100,000 tons of water. TEPCO is measuring the level of radiation in groundwater near the plant to check for possible wastewater leakage. TEPCO reportedly has plans to stop all leaks of highly contaminated water from the site this month.
- A cooling system operating at the reactor 2 used fuel storage pool has reduced the pool temperature to 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) from the previous reading of 70 C (158 F). TEPCO plans to start operating similar cooling systems for the fuel pools at reactors 1 and 3 this month and at the reactor 4 pool in July.
- TEPCO temporarily stopped injecting freshwater into reactors 2 and 3 on June 3 while it re-routed the water supply line. Freshwater injection has since resumed at both reactors. Water is being injected into reactors 2 and 3 through the reactor water supply system. At reactor 1, water is being injected by a motor-driven pump powered by the off-site transmission line.
- Fukushima Prefecture has decided to check the internal radiation exposure (that is, through breathing and eating) of residents near the Fukushima Daiichi reactor and adjacent areas. The prefecture has only one whole-body-counter, capable of screening just 10 people per day. It is urging research institutes and others with similar devices to assist.
- Nagasaki University Hospital reports that at least 40 percent of staff sent to provide assistance at the Fukushima prefecture, where the damaged reactor is located, received low levels of internal exposure to radioactive iodine. Some also were exposed to cesium. Hospital officials said the low-level contamination poses no health concerns.
- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff is presenting to the agency’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards the background and context related to Fukushima for the recently issued B.5.b.-related Bulletin 11-01 on June 8.
- The NRC will hold a public meeting on June 8 on the petition to suspend General Electric Mark I boiling water reactor operating licenses at NRC headquarters in Rockville, Md.
- The NRC on June 15 will webcast a commission briefing on the progress of the task force review of NRC processes and regulations following events in Japan at NRC headquarters in Rockville, Md.
- The Washington Post and the Financial Times penned editorials Thursday criticizing Germany’s decision to phase out its nuclear power plants by 2022. In an editorial headlined “Germany’s nuclear energy blunder,” The Post said, “Instead of providing a model for greening a post-industrial economy, Germany’s overreaching greens are showing the rest of the world just how difficult it is to contemplate big cuts in carbon emissions without keeping nuclear power on the table.” The Times, in a piece headlined “The nuclear option,” said, “Nuclear power has an important role to play in the world’s energy mix. Countries with faster-growing populations or a weaker renewable sector will struggle to dispense with nuclear power without missing environmental targets or damaging their economies.”
- The Department of Energy is sponsoring a workshop on preliminary lessons learned from Fukushima in Arlington, Va., on June 6-7. Participants include the Department of Energy, national laboratories, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations and others.
UPDATE AS OF 5 P.M. EDT, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1
IAEA Study Team Recommends Regular Hazard Assessments
- A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has been investigating the accident at Fukushima Daiichi, said, in addition to being highly complimentary to the plant operators for their actions following the accident, the risk of tsunamis has been underestimated at several plant sites in Japan. In its preliminary findings, the IAEA said hazards should be reassessed and updated periodically. Included among a number of recommendations is that “regulatory independence and clarity of roles are preserved” during severe accidents. IAEA will present the report at a conference on nuclear safety beginning June 20 in Vienna.
- Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has installed a new circulating water cooling system-the first such system installed at the plant since the accident-for the used fuel storage pool for reactor 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. Previously, the company had pumped cooling water into the pool using a fire pump. The new system will circulate water through a heat exchanger and return the cooled water to the pool in an effort to reduce the high humidity that has been hampering recovery work at that reactor. The utility plans to install similar systems for other fuel storage pools at the site.
- Workers have replaced a broken pump at reactor 5 at the Fukushima Daiichi site. The reactor had been safely shut down since before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The pump is one of several that provides cooling water for the reactor.
- TEPCO is evaluating exposure of two employees to high levels of radiation. The company said that shortly after the March 11 accident, the workers may have received a dose exceeding the 25 rem emergency level set by the government. The government has ordered TEPCO to test more workers at the plant for radiation exposure.
- The government also is urging TEPCO to finalize plans for processing contaminated water that is collecting at Fukushima Daiichi. Heavy rain this week exacerbated rising levels of contaminated water in some of the plant’s buildings. The government has asked TEPCO to provide additional storage facilities for the water. The company also plans to install seawater purifiers near the water intakes for reactors 2 and 3. It expects to treat up to 30 tons of water per hour from inside the underwater silt fences that were installed earlier to help reduce contamination into the ocean. The company expects treatment to begin Thursday.
- TEPCO has launched a live Web video stream from the Fukushima Daiichi site. The camera, installed about 250 meters northwest of reactor 1, shows images of reactors 1-4.
- About 1,800 people have not evacuated from their homes near the Fukushima Daiichi site, despite passage of a government deadline to relocate. The government advised about 10,000 residents outside the 12.5-mile evacuation zone to relocate by the end of May. Those who remain include cattle farmers and those who cannot secure housing.
- The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public meeting on the petition to suspend General Electric Mark I boiling water reactor operating licenses June 8 at NRC headquarters in Rockville, Md.
- NEI’s chief nuclear officer, Tony Pietrangelo, is scheduled to appear on CNN International today live at 7:30 p.m. EDT. He will discuss recent nuclear energy developments, including Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear energy by 2022.
- The German government on Monday said it plans to shut all of the nation’s nuclear power plants within the next 11 years, a sharp reversal for Chancellor Angela Merkel after the Japanese disaster at Fukushima caused an electoral backlash by voters opposed to reliance on nuclear energy, The New York Times reported. Reaction to the chancellor’s announcement has been mixed, and companies that operate the country’s reactors have said they will sue the German government over the early closures.
- NEI has updated its graphic illustrating Major Modifications and Upgrades to U.S. Boiling Water Reactors with Mark I Containment Systems and its graphic included in the related fact sheet, U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Reconfirming Safety, Response Programs in Light of Japan Situation.