Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has removed two unused fuel assemblies from a fuel pool at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, an encouraging sign of progress being made as part of the company’s long-term recovery plan.
“We cannot overstate the importance of this step by TEPCO,” said Steve Kraft, NEI’s senior director for Fukushima response coordination and strategy. “It not only demonstrates progress in beginning to remove the accumulated nuclear fuel in the damaged plants (particularly from reactor 4), but the new fuel assemblies will also be analyzed to provide information on the used fuel that will be invaluable in the effort to remove the used fuel.”
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April 16, 2012
1:30 pm EST
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 16, 2012—Bolstering the ability of U.S. nuclear energy facilities to respond safely to extreme events, the industry has met its March 31 deadline for ordering additional on-site portable equipment to be used in emergencies. The equipment would be used if other systems that comprise a facility’s multi-layered safety strategy are compromised. The additional equipment—some of which already has been positioned at plant sites—is a key element of the industry’s FLEX strategy developed in response to Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi accident in March 2011.
This equipment is part of a commitment by all U.S. companies operating nuclear energy facilities to begin implementing the “flexible and diverse” (FLEX) response strategy by ordering or entering into contract for a plant-specific list of emergency equipment. Each nuclear power plant has multiple safety systems designed specifically for that facility. This initiative provides an additional layer of safety as part of a nuclear power plant’s response capability to extreme natural events.
Every company met the deadline, said Tony Pietrangelo, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. Equipment that has been acquired or ordered includes: diesel-driven pumps, air-driven pumps for flood equipment, sump pumps, hoses, electric generators, battery chargers, electrical switchgear, fittings, cables, fire trucks and satellite communications gear. It also includes support materials for emergency responders.