Japan Nuclear

Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • Kansai Electric Power Co. last week restarted a second reactor at its Ohi nuclear energy facility in Fukui prefecture. The company said Ohi reactor 4 should reach full power this week. Reactor 3, the first in the country to restart since the Fukushima accident, attained full power operations July 9. The government said it planned to partially lift power-saving restrictions in western Japan though it still would encourage voluntary measures especially if summer temperatures are above normal.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • The U.S. nuclear energy industry has begun to implement safety enhancements based on recommendations from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Japan task force. Last week, NRC staff observed inspections conducted by Dominion at its Kewaunee nuclear station in Wisconsin to assess its ability to withstand earthquakes. Kewaunee is the lead plant to test the inspection procedure, which will be repeated at all U.S. nuclear facilities.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • An independent commission appointed by Japan’s parliament to study the causes of last year’s nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi harshly criticized the government, the plant operator and the country’s national culture. After conducting 900 hours of public hearings and interviews with more than 1,100 people and visiting several nuclear power plants, the commission’s report concluded the accident was a “manmade disaster,” the result of “collusion between the government, the regulators and Tokyo Electric Power Co.” It said the “root causes were the organizational and regulatory systems that supported faulty rationales for decisions and actions.” The panel criticized the regulator for insufficiently maintaining independence from the industry in developing and enforcing safety regulations, the government for inadequate emergency preparedness and management, and TEPCO for its poor governance and lack of safety culture. The report calls for fundamental changes across the industry, including the government and regulators, to increase openness, trustworthiness and focus on protecting public health and safety. Tony Pietrangelo, NEI’s senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, explains the differences in how U.S. and Japanese nuclear energy facilities are regulated and operated in a YouTube video.
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The following story originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

An independent commission appointed by Japan’s parliament to study the causes of last year’s nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi had harsh criticism for the government, the operator of the plant and even the country’s national culture.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • At shareholder meetings last week of all nine Japanese nuclear utilities, proposals to reduce or eliminate the use of nuclear energy were voted down. Tokyo Electric Power Co. shareholders approved the government taking over 75 percent of the utility’s shares in exchange for a capital infusion of $12.5 billion. Eleven new TEPCO executives were also formally voted in.
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