Fukushima

Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has recommended requiring engineered filters to the containment vents for Mark I and Mark II boiling water reactors as a post-Fukushima response. A staff paper released this week for the commission’s consideration said an alternative performance-based approach to filtering preferred by industry and by the NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards would work but take too long to implement.
  • Japan’s pro-nuclear energy Liberal Democratic Party won a landslide victory Dec. 16, taking 294 of the 480 seats in the lower chamber of parliament, despite voters’ relatively negative view of nuclear energy. A poll by the Japanese national newspaper Asahi Shimbun found that 16 percent of voters want to scrap nuclear energy immediately, 28 think it should be phased out and 15 percent support continuing to use nuclear energy. The newspaper concluded that voters did not consider nuclear energy a key issue in the race.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority said Monday that its survey of a second fault zone directly beneath one of two reactors at the Tsuruga nuclear energy facility in Fukui prefecture found it likely to be seismically active. NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said that, given the results, “there is no way we can carry out safety assessments for a restart.” The NRA team said reactor 2 may have to be decommissioned by the plant operator, although the agency only has the authority to bar the plant from restarting.

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A 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck Japan overnight, triggering tsunami warnings across the island nation. The warnings were lifted soon after and the quake caused very little damage.

We’ve got out eyes on the situation at Fukushima Daiichi, and things there look quiet according to ABC News: “No damage has been reported at monitoring posts and water treatment facilities at the reactors … All the workers were moved to higher ground on the site and told to stay inside after the tsunami warning.”

Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority last week began examining a fissure beneath Japan Atomic Power Co.’s Tsuruga nuclear energy facility in Fukui prefecture to determine whether it is associated with a nearby active fault. NRA officials investigated samples of rock strata extracted in a field survey. If the agency decides that the plant is located above an active fault, the facility’s two reactors are unlikely to be allowed to resume operation. The agency is expected to finalize its assessment after a Dec. 10 meeting. Several other reactors are slated for similar investigations. A separate team last month failed to reach a definitive conclusion about Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Ohi site, where Japan’s only two operating reactors are located.

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Plant Update

  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. has released English translations of its Management Policy Toward Restoration of the Fukushima Daiichi site and environs as well as a 71-item Intensive Reform Implementation Action Plan for executing the policy. The plan includes building an international reactor safety research center, a mock-up facility to investigate how to repair leaks in reactors’ primary containment vessels and an equipment maintenance center. The plan also calls for accelerating the removal of used fuel from reactor 4’s storage pool and setting up a “Fukushima revitalization headquarters” to move some functions of TEPCO’s Tokyo head office to Fukushima.
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Activity ID: 1002943 Activity Name: NEI Remarketing Safety Activity Group Name: Remarketing Safety First