• Government health checks of some 1,700 residents who were evacuated from three municipalities after the Fukushima Daiichi accident show that two-thirds received an external radiation dose within the government limit of 100 millirem per year, according to an NHK World report. It added that 98 percent of those tested showed an estimated dose of less than 500 millirem. Authorities said about 10 members of the public were exposed to more than 1,000 millirem. (For comparison, the average annual dose to members of the U.S. public from natural and manmade radiation sources is about 400 millirem.) Read More »

Several news articles late this week have reported that Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant may be in “cold shutdown” by mid-December. Although the reports are mostly accurate, there is a difference between the traditional “cold shutdown” of a nuclear plant and what is happening at Fukushima.

First, what is cold shutdown? The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission defines it as:

The term used to define a reactor coolant system at atmospheric pressure and at a temperature below 200 degrees Fahrenheit following a reactor cooldown.

In non-nuclear speak, it basically means the conditions within the nuclear reactor are such that it would be impossible for a chain reaction to occur. This term usually comes into play whenever a reactor is shut down periodically for refueling or for the final time prior to the long-term before it is decommissioned. When a reactor is in cold shutdown, the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) can be safely opened with great care and additional water is added to the cavity above the vessel for shielding to permit safe handling of the fuel for refueling (replacing depleted fuel elements) or defueling (removing the entire core).
Read More »

Radiation Protection Senior Engineer Martin Wright Conducts Ocean Sampling Near Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant

Radiation Protection Senior Engineer Martin Wright Conducts Ocean Sampling Near Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant

In the nuclear energy industry, our job is to produce electricity safely by protecting the health and safety of our plant workers, our environment and our communities. It is our responsibility to safely contain radiation. We do this by monitoring for radiation each day and abiding by strict federal safety limits set by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Martin Wright is a radiation protection senior engineer with 32 years of experience both in the U.S. Navy and the commercial nuclear power industry.
Read More »

NEI has posted a new backgrounder to its website:

  • U.S. Companies Make Safety Enhancements at Nuclear Energy Facilities; EU and Asia Undertake ‘Stress Tests’
    • Nuclear energy regulators and nuclear plant operators around the world reacted quickly after the March 11 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility in Japan, providing assistance to the Japanese where possible and reviewing safety measures at their own facilities. Those initial reviews are being followed by more detailed assessments as more is learned about exactly what happened at Fukushima and why. Regulators and industry alike will scrutinize the Fukushima event to glean lessons that can be applied to nuclear energy facilities globally.
    • The U.S. nuclear industry has a robust program for critiquing safety measures and sharing lessons learned from Fukushima. The industry already has taken significant measures to enhance safety at America’s nuclear energy facilities. Separately, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission task force has completed inspections at each U.S. reactor and a 90-day review of the Fukushima accident that yielded several near-term recommendations for the U.S. industry. Read More >>

See the main fact sheet Web page for all of NEI’s backgrounders on the Fukushima nuclear energy situation and the U.S. nuclear industry’s response.

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

  • Japan’s government will lift evacuation advisories for five municipalities between the 12-mile to 19-mile advisory zone around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility, said Tadahiro Matsushita, senior vice minister for economy, trade and industry. Residents in the advisory zone were asked either to evacuate or remain indoors. About half of the residents chose to evacuate, and they will be allowed to begin returning to their homes.
    Read More »
Activity ID: 1002943 Activity Name: NEI Remarketing Safety Activity Group Name: Remarketing Safety First