- The U.S. nuclear energy industry has begun to implement safety enhancements based on recommendations from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Japan task force. Last week, NRC staff observed inspections conducted by Dominion at its Kewaunee nuclear station in Wisconsin to assess its ability to withstand earthquakes. Kewaunee is the lead plant to test the inspection procedure, which will be repeated at all U.S. nuclear facilities.
- Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has begun inspecting two idled nuclear reactors at Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s Tomari nuclear energy facility in northern Japan, as part of its process for their possible restart. NISA will assess the results of stress tests on Tomari reactors 1 and 2 that the utility submitted last December, showing that the facility can withstand severe natural events like earthquakes and tsunamis. Two nuclear reactors at Kansai Electric’s Ohi facility were cleared to restart after NISA’s approval of their stress test results. In addition, local government and community approval is considered necessary in Japan to restart shutdown reactors.
- Kansai Electric Power Co. is to restart reactor 4 at its Ohi nuclear energy facility July 18, a week after reactor 3 reached full power. Reactor 4 is expected to reach full power by July 25.
- Tokyo Electric Power Co. has completed dismantling the damaged roof and wall structures from the upper part of the reactor building of Fukushima Daiichi unit 4, in preparation for removing used fuel from the fuel storage pool. A slide presentation by TEPCO depicts the areas removed as well as the temporary protective steel plates on top of the used fuel storage pool. TEPCO is preparing similar debris removal operations for the upper part of the reactor 3 building, and has released videos and photos of that reactor’s operating floor. The top floors of reactors 1, 3 and 4 were heavily damaged in hydrogen explosions in the days after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
- TEPCO has released a new series of photographs of the March 11, 2011, tsunami approaching and flooding Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
- The Asahi Shimbun reports on the estimation of Japan’s National Institute of Radioactive Sciences that thyroid gland radiation exposures in Fukushima evacuees are well below the International Atomic Energy Agency threshold for measures needed to prevent thyroid cancer.
- Daily Yomiuri says power shortages will continue to be a concern in most of Japan, in spite of the restart of two nuclear reactors at Kansai Electric’s Ohi facility in the western part of the country. TEPCO says it has sufficient surplus capacity to avoid the possibility of rolling blackouts in the Tokyo region; however, that assumption is based on the continuation of voluntary power-saving measures by industry and consumers.
- A study published by a German ocean research institute finds that the short-term releases of radioactive materials from Fukushima Daiichi will disperse and dilute rapidly in Pacific Ocean currents to levels that are “below concern.”
- NEI updated its white paper on the U.S. government and nuclear energy industry response to the Fukushima accident. The paper provides information on the activities that have been conducted since the accident to enhance safety at U.S. nuclear facilities, as well as planned activities over the next year.
- NEI President and CEO Marvin Fertel and speakers from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will brief the National Academy of Sciences July 19 on the U.S. nuclear industry’s post-Fukushima activities. The briefing kicks off an NRC-sponsored two-year NAS study on technical lessons to be learned from Fukushima.