- Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced this week that the three damaged reactors at Fukushima Daiichi now are below 100 Celsius at the bottom of the reactor vessels. Reactor 2 is the last reactor to drop below boiling point, after TEPCO in recent weeks began augmenting cooling by spraying water from above the fuel. Temperatures at reactors 1 and 3 have been below 100 Celsius since August. TEPCO said it would declare the reactors to be in a “cold shutdown” condition once the temperatures at the bottom of the vessels drop below 90 Celsius and other conditions are met to achieve stable cooling. The company expects to attain this goal by the end of the year.
- The Japanese government today lifted evacuation advisories for five towns located between the 12-mile to 19-mile advisory ring around the Fukushima Daiichi facility. Residents in the advisory zone had been asked to evacuate or remain indoors. About half the population that chose to evacuate—about 28,500 residents—will be allowed to return to their homes. Evacuation orders within the 12-mile zone remain in place.
- Japan’s upper house of parliament voted Friday to undertake a yearlong parliamentary investigation into the Fukushima accident. A 10-member panel of independent experts, to be appointed by lawmakers from both chambers, will be empowered to call witnesses and documents and will submit a draft report in about six months.
- Mainichi Daily News reports that Japan’s ministry of environment has estimated that decontamination work at the Fukushima Daiichi plant will cost $13 billion. The government has requested half that amount for decontamination and disposal of radioactive rubble for fiscal 2012.
- TEPCO could be responsible for as much as $59 billion in compensation claims and could require long-term government support to stave off bankruptcy, reports Bloomberg.
- The company also said that it likely has sufficient generating capacity to meet electricity demand this winter without requiring mandatory power curbs from large users, reports Reuters.
- Exelon Generation Co. Chief Operating Officer Charles Pardee will brief the U.S. Energy Association’s energy supply forum Oct. 4 on safety and preparedness issues at America’s nuclear energy facilities.
- U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko will speak at a National Journal event Oct. 5 on the global implications of the Japan nuclear accident.
- The NRC commissioners will be briefed in a public meeting Oct. 11 on prioritization of long-term recommendations from its Japan task force. The briefing will be webcast.