International Atomic Energy Agency

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

The nuclear energy industry is “safer than it was before the Fukushima Daiichi accident” as nuclear energy facility operators around the world continue to upgrade their emergency preparedness and response capabilities, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in its annual report to the United Nations General Assembly.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s new two-year business plan, released last week, projects that costs for decontaminating the area around Fukushima Daiichi and paying damages to evacuated residents will double from the $62.5 billion estimate from April. The company also expects the $12.5 billion estimated cost for decommissioning the facility to increase significantly. TEPCO is asking the government to review the revised business plan and for continued financial support to meet its obligations. In May, the government assumed 51 percent control of the utility’s shares, in return for allocating funds and assistance for compensation and decontamination.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • The five commissioners heading Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) unanimously agreed last week to formulate new severe accident regulations for nuclear energy facilities, in line with the country’s atomic energy law that parliament amended in June. Accident scenarios to be covered will include terrorist actions as well as earthquakes and tsunamis. The NRA said draft regulations will be available for public comment March 2013 and are to be finalized by July. Two sets of final regulations are to be drawn up, to include plant system design considerations and severe accident management procedures.
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Activity ID: 1002943 Activity Name: NEI Remarketing Safety Activity Group Name: Remarketing Safety First