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CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Duke Energy Corp. employees at the Oconee Nuclear Station in South Carolina have been honored with the B. Ralph Sylvia “Best of the Best” Award for completing the first digital upgrades to commercial reactor protection systems in the United States. The conversion from the analog instrumentation common in these systems uses digital electronics technology to enhance the monitoring and control of reactor safety functions. The new digital system at Oconee 1 also has diagnostic capabilities that increase reactor efficiency and operational reliability.

The Best of the Best Top Industry Practice (TIP) award was presented today at the Nuclear Energy Institute’s annual meeting. The TIP awards recognize industry innovators in 14 categories—four reactor vendor awards and nine process awards for innovation to improve safety, efficiency and nuclear plant performance, as well as an award for vision and leadership.
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  • Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s Tomari 3, Japan’s last operating commercial nuclear reactor, shut down for regular inspections March 5, marking the first time in 42 years that Japan has not had a reactor generating electricity. Japan has 50 operable commercial units. The national government’s ruling party, the Democratic Party of Japan, continues to work with local communities that host nuclear facilities to allow reactors to return to operation.
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Southern Nuclear's SAM Program Director David Gambrell

Southern Nuclear's SAM Program Director David Gambrell

David Gambrell serves as director of Southern Nuclear’s Severe Accident Management (SAM) team — a group formed in July 2011 to help influence regulations in response to the event at Fukushima and other natural external hazard events in the United States. The mission of this team is to prepare Southern Nuclear’s fleet for anticipated changes in facilities, procedures and processes.

Gambrell shares his take on the current state of the industry and the action Southern Nuclear has taken as a result.

What has happened in this country since Fukushima?

After March 11, 2011, the United States immediately began to examine our own procedures and designs to determine where improvements can be made to keep our plants safe during natural events.
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The global nuclear energy community yesterday marked the passing of one year since the natural disaster and accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan. We have compiled a sampling of news coverage about the progress that has been made over the past 12 months, both in the recovery efforts at the facility in Japan as well as the actions nuclear plant operators are taking to enhance safety at reactors around the world. Check back this week for an updated collection of coverage.

News Articles

In Japan, Relief at Radiation’s Low Toll
Wall Street Journal
March 9, 2012

“A year after the Fukushima nuclear accident, the emerging consensus among scientists is that its effects on physical health and the environment have so far been minimal. There have been no reported radiation-related deaths or illnesses from the accident, even among workers who faced very high exposure.”
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Japanese officials continue to monitor radiation levels in the air, water, soil, crops and livestock in an ongoing effort to protect public health.

Ongoing environmental monitoring helps Japanese officials to protect public health.

When a mega-quake followed by a massive tsunami struck Japan last March, the country’s defenses were overwhelmed by the scale of the natural disaster. While the earthquake and tsunami caused catastrophic destruction and significant loss of life, radiation released from the Fukushima Daiichi reactors has not caused a single death. In fact, the radiological consequences of the accident to date are negligible, due in large part to emergency response plans that were in place before the incident.

“The reporting of Fukushima was guided by the Cold War reflex that matched radiation with fear and mortal danger,” writes Wade Allison, emeritus professor of physics at Oxford University in the UK newspaper, The Telegraph. “Reactors have been destroyed, but the radiation at Fukushima has caused no loss of life and is unlikely to do so, even in the next 50 years.”
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Activity ID: 1002943 Activity Name: NEI Remarketing Safety Activity Group Name: Remarketing Safety First