Fukushima

The following news article originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

NRC Commissioner William Ostendorff told attendees at NEI’s Licensing Forum this week that the nuclear energy industry needs to communicate how the FLEX strategy would work to bolster public safety.

FLEX, the industry’s response to the NRC’s March 12 post-Fukushima order requiring nuclear facility operators to mitigate the consequences of an extreme natural event, provides additional layers of backup power and reactor cooling capability by stationing supplemental emergency equipment—generators, battery packs, pumps, air compressors and battery chargers—on reactor sites and at several off-site storage locations that can be deployed to any distressed facility.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • The post-Fukushima response steering committees of the nuclear energy industry and Nuclear Regulatory Commission reviewed accomplishments and work in progress during a joint meeting last week. Nuclear energy industry representatives highlighted completion of inspections for potential flooding and seismic activity, validation of procedures and equipment readiness for loss of off-site electrical power, purchase of additional portable safety equipment, and selection of a vendor for a regional response center. Work in progress includes establishing guidance and conducting further inspections for flooding and seismic assessments and integrating emergency operating procedures and severe accident management guidelines.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • A new study by the Electric Power Research Institute that examines options for minimizing the release of radioactive materials in a severe nuclear accident says that a combination of strategies would be much more effective than depending on any single measure. In particular, EPRI says that combining containment sprays or immersion of damaged fuel with a specifically designed vent that can reliably open and close at appropriate times would provide a more than 1,000-fold reduction in the amount of fission products released. Adding low-efficiency filters to vents can further reduce the release of fission product particles, although the report recommends further research to evaluate the efficacy of filter designs. EPRI acknowledges that “the best way to avoid radiological release and potential land contamination is to prevent an accident from occurring by improving and augmenting the strategies for preventing core damage,” a strategy in line with the industry’s “FLEX” approach.
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The following news article originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

A new study by the Electric Power Research Institute that examines options for minimizing the release of radioactive materials in a severe nuclear accident says that a combination of strategies would be more effective than any single measure.The EPRI report looked at boiling water reactors with Mark I and Mark II containment designs, similar to those involved in the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident. The study notes that, while the accident did not have a long-term effect on public health and safety, it did result in “widespread contamination” of surrounding areas.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • The Japanese government’s Energy and Environment Council last week proposed a goal of phasing out nuclear energy “in the 2030s.” The new policy follows recent public surveys that indicate support for ending the country’s reliance on nuclear energy. The panel said the 48 currently idled reactors will be allowed to restart by the new regulatory body that is being put in place this week. Reactors will be kept to a 40-year operating period, with the possibility of a 20-year license extension. Completion of the three reactors under construction at the time of the Fukushima accident will be allowed. The official policy for reprocessing used nuclear fuel will continue as will the search for a host site for a used fuel repository. The policy will be submitted to other cabinet ministers for approval and a roadmap for the phase-out will be published later this year. Anticipating increases in fossil fuel usage, the policy also drastically slashes national carbon emission reduction goals.
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Activity ID: 1002943 Activity Name: NEI Remarketing Safety Activity Group Name: Remarketing Safety First