Fukushima

Onagawa Nuclear Power Station

Onagawa Nuclear Power Station

For much of the last eight months, the world has been riveted by the valiant efforts of Tokyo Electric Power Co. employees to save the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. But what most people don’t realize is that the nearby Onagawa nuclear energy facility, located 120 kilometers northwest of Fukushima Daiichi in Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture, successfully weathered the massive tsunami and earthquake that crippled the other plant.

The Onagawa plant, whose three reactors can generate more than 2,000 megawatts-electric, enough to power 800,000 homes, is an example of a nuclear energy facility that was prepared for nature’s worst.

As a Reuters article recently noted, not only did the plant withstand the impact of the tsunami’s 13 meter (40 foot) waves and achieve a cold shutdown within 11 hours, it also provided a vital lifeline to the surrounding community, offering shelter for hundreds of tsunami victims who sought refuge at the plant for three months.
Read More »

Plant Status

  • Sustained nuclear fission did not occur at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility last week, Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said, confirming earlier reports from Tokyo Electric Power Co. Plant employees detected a trace amount of radioactive xenon-135 gas in the reactor 2 containment vessel last week, which led to initial concerns there might have been an ongoing nuclear reaction in the vessel. After investigation, TEPCO said the xenon was produced through spontaneous fission, a form of radioactive decay. NISA said the density of the xenon did not change when a boric acid solution was injected into the reactor, demonstrating that criticality was not occurring.
    Read More »

Plant Status

  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. reported Sunday that it has begun removing radioactive cesium from the used fuel pool at Fukushima Daiichi reactor 2. TEPCO said this is a preparatory step to desalinating the pool water to avert corrosion of metallic components. After the March 11 accident, TEPCO used seawater to cool the fuel in the reactors and the pools. The company has been purifying and recycling water since July to cool the reactors, but it has now begun to purify the water in the used fuel pools. TEPCO reported that it has already begun desalinating reactor 4’s pool.
    Read More »

Plant Status

  • The trace of radioactive xenon found earlier this week in reactor 2 at Fukushima Daiichi is too small to have resulted from a criticality incident in the reactor, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has concluded. The company said yesterday that the small amount of xenon-135 detected in a gas sample taken from the reactor 2 containment vessel resulted from the spontaneous fission of curium-242 and -244, which are found in nuclear fuel. Spontaneous fission is a form of radioactive decay that does not lead to a chain reaction. A criticality event would have resulted in higher levels of xenon, TEPCO said. Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency will evaluate the results.
    Read More »
Employees Training in a Control Room Simulator

Employees Training in a Control Room Simulator

Responding to Fukushima: Part 5 of a 5-Part Series

Though the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) concluded that America’s nuclear energy facilities are operating safely, the NRC and the nuclear energy industry agree that adapting lessons learned from the incident in Japan will require the review of current emergency operating guidelines and procedures. If new guidelines and procedures are developed, implementing them successfully will require additional training for industry workers.

Constant training has been a hallmark of the American nuclear industry. Before the NRC licenses an individual to operate or supervise operators of a nuclear power reactor, he or she must have several years of related experience and complete extensive classroom, simulator and on-the-job training. After that, reactor operators spend every fifth week training in a full-scale simulator that is the exact replica of each plant’s control room.
Read More »

Activity ID: 1002943 Activity Name: NEI Remarketing Safety Activity Group Name: Remarketing Safety First