- Tokyo Electric Power Co. last week released its final report of the company’s internal investigation of events at Fukushima Daiichi following the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. Japanese media say that in the report TEPCO says it failed to adequately prepare for the nuclear emergency, but also criticizes the government for communication failures and interfering with the company’s emergency response. TEPCO said one lesson it has taken from the accident is the need for an emergency response system that takes into account a reactor that has lost all its functions and measures to improve the chain of command and information flow. The report, which TEPCO says was based on interviews with about 600 employees, on-site inspections, and data analysis, is being translated into English.
- Kansai Electric Power Co. has begun work to restart reactors 3 and 4 at the Ohi nuclear energy facility in Fukui prefecture. Reactor 3 reactor is scheduled to start up July 1 and reactor 4 July 17. Full power operations are expected to take a week after initial start.
- TEPCO has installed a new cover over the used fuel pool of Fukushima Daiichi reactor 4. The 60-ton steel cover is to provide protection from the weather during the coming typhoon season. The cover also will prevent debris from the roof of the reactor building falling into the pool. The company is preparing to dismantle a portion of the damaged reactor building’s walls and roof as part of its plan to remove the used fuel from the storage pool. TEPCO plans to remove two unused fuel bundles from the reactor 4 fuel pool in July and check the fuel for corrosion and degradation.
- Adrian Heymer, NEI’s executive director for Fukushima response coordination and strategy, told a press conference last week that the industry is on schedule to begin extensive inspections in July to gauge U.S. nuclear facilities’ readiness to withstand severe floods and earthquakes.
- An editorial in the Washington Post says public confidence must be maintained and nurtured for nuclear energy to continue its role as a “vital low-carbon energy source.”
- Reuters reports that the Japanese government’s push to subsidize new solar and wind generation will be much more costly to consumers than renewable subsidies in Germany or China. An Kyodo News Service article notes a Japanese government estimate of a combined loss to the country’s utilities of $55 billion (4.4 trillion yen) if the country were to decommission all 50 of its operational nuclear reactors.
- Jiji Press outlines the structure and mission of the new independent nuclear regulator that was approved last week to replace Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. Legislation approved in both houses of parliament would establish the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by September.
- The NRC holds a public meeting this week to discuss implementing the agency’s Japan task force recommendation on inspections for flooding hazard re-evaluations.