December 19, 2011
5:19 pm EST
- The Fukushima Daiichi reactors are in “a state of cold shutdown,” with temperatures at the bottom of the reactor pressure vessels and containment vessels stably below the boiling point and radiation levels at the plant boundary below 100 millirem per year. (By comparison, the average radiation level from all sources to U.S. citizens is about 400 millirem per year.) The announcement last Friday by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is a key milestone in the site’s recovery plan, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko said on his first visit to the site since March.
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December 16, 2011
9:54 am EST
Reuters reported this morning that the Japanese prime minister declared that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility is in a state of cold shutdown. See story:
TOKYO, Dec 16 (Reuters) – Japan declared its tsunami-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant to be in cold shutdown on Friday, taking a major step to resolving the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years but some critics questioned whether the plant was really under control.
The Fukushima Daiichi plant, 240 km (150 miles) northeast of Tokyo, was wrecked on March 11 by a huge earthquake and a towering tsunami which knocked out its cooling systems, triggering meltdowns, radiation leaks and mass evacuations.
In making the much-anticipated announcement, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda tried to draw a line under the most acute phase of the crisis and highlighted the next challenges: the clean-up and the safe dismantling of the plant, something the government says may take more than 30 years.
“The reactors have reached a state of cold shutdown,” Noda told a government nuclear emergency response meeting.
“A stable condition has been achieved,” he added, noting radiation levels at the boundary of the plant could now be kept at low levels, even in the event of “unforeseeable incidents.”
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See NEI’s post that explains the difference between “cold shutdown condition,” which is what happened at Fukushima, and the normal process of “cold shutdown.”
December 12, 2011
4:02 pm EST
NOTE: The Fukushima updates are moving to a weekly schedule beginning today and continuing each Monday. Additional updates will be issued as needed to cover developing events.
- Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said it will receive accident insurance from a Swiss company that will replace a consortium of insurers that will not renew its policies with the utility. TEPCO will pay about $258 million for a five-year policy, about 10 times the amount it paid to the consortium. The policy will cover claims related to Fukushima Daiichi.
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December 12, 2011
1:49 pm EST
TEPCO Workers Lay Cables to Restore Power to Fukushima Daini
Struggling against earthquake aftershocks, devastating floodwaters and debris, employees at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Daini nuclear energy facility safely shut down all four of the facility’s reactors within days of the historic 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11. The facility is located only seven miles southwest of its sister plant, Fukushima Daiichi, and produces enough electricity to power roughly three million homes and businesses in Japan.
When the earthquake struck, the Fukushima Daini facility automatically shut down safely as designed. However, it went into a state of emergency following the tsunami when water damage disrupted heat removal systems in three of the four reactors.
TEPCO reactor operators were able to quickly bring reactor 3, which had retained its heat removal function, into stable condition in a matter of hours. Meanwhile, other employees worked feverishly around-the-clock to reestablish heat removal capability in the other three reactors and finished stabilizing them by March 15.
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December 9, 2011
4:26 pm EST
- Government health checks of some 1,700 residents who were evacuated from three municipalities after the Fukushima Daiichi accident show that two-thirds received an external radiation dose within the government limit of 100 millirem per year, according to an NHK World report. It added that 98 percent of those tested showed an estimated dose of less than 500 millirem. Authorities said about 10 members of the public were exposed to more than 1,000 millirem. (For comparison, the average annual dose to members of the U.S. public from natural and manmade radiation sources is about 400 millirem.) Read More »