Earthquake

Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • Japanese central government officials met last week with more than 550 people living near the Ohi nuclear energy facility to make the case that two of the four reactors are safe to restart. The mayor of Ohi said the town council would decide whether to approve the restart now that it has heard from the public. If the Ohi reactors are brought back online, they will be the first to resume operations since the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami. Meanwhile, Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s Tomari 3, Japan’s last operating commercial nuclear reactor, will shut down for regular inspections this weekend. Last week, TEPCO officially removed the four damaged Fukushima Daiichi reactors from its roster, leaving Japan with 50 operable commercial units.
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The following story originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

The nuclear industry and NRC staff appear generally to be in alignment on a variety of issues regarding the implementation of orders incorporating safety lessons from the agency’s Fukushima task force, though some differences remain to be worked out.

A public meeting last week of NRC and industry Fukushima response steering committees discussed a variety of topics, including seismic revaluations, filtered vents and land contamination.
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The following story originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

Inadequate forecasting of the maximum possible tsunami height led to flaws in flooding protection design for the Fukushima Daiichi plant, resulting in last year’s reactor accident in Japan when the tsunami that struck the plant exceeded the plant’s design basis.

A new analysis by the Electric Power Research Institute said the facility also had limited protection and mitigation capabilities for coping with events that exceed what is accounted for in its design, causing the reactors to lose cooling and backup power and ultimately leading to fuel damage and the release of radiation to the environment.
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NEI's President and Chief Executive Marvin Fertel

Guest Commentary by Marvin Fertel
President and Chief Executive Officer
Nuclear Energy Institute

One year ago, a powerful earthquake and tsunami devastated the northeast coast of Japan, leaving more than 19,000 people dead or missing and thousands more homeless. We continue to remember the Japanese people for all that they lost in this horrible act of nature and continue to support their recovery. The entire world marveled at the resilience of the Japanese people in the face of this calamity.

Those of us in the nuclear energy industry were particularly struck by the tireless efforts of the workers who, in the face of destruction of the storm and uncertainty for their families, labored to stabilize the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
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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