NEI Updates: November 2011

Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • Fukushima Prefecture is stepping up its testing of rice crops, now that more radioactive cesium has been found in harvested samples. Government officials measured twice the allowable radiation limit in rice from farms in Date City, about 30 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. The prefectural government is expanding radiation testing to more than 2,300 nearby farms.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • The town of Hirono in Fukushima prefecture plans to test a system that would reduce the volume of radioactive debris requiring disposal by up to a factor of 300. The equipment would heat-treat the materials in an oxygen-free environment and use a ceramic powder to absorb radioactive materials.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • Japan’s Diet passed legislation to provide $156 billion in disaster reconstruction aid, the third time since the March earthquake that legislators have approved supplemental funding. Of the total, $3 billion is earmarked to fund radiation decontamination efforts, with the majority of the money to be used to rebuild areas devastated by the earthquake and tsunami and to help companies build new manufacturing plants.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • The Japanese cabinet has approved “basic policies” to clean up radioactive contamination resulting from the Fukushima Daiichi accident. Based on recommendations made in 2007 by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, areas contaminated to dose levels within two rem per year above background will be cleaned up to reduce adult doses by 50 percent within two years and 60 percent for children, and to a long-term level of 0.1 rem/year above background radiation levels. Two rem is about the same amount of radiation exposure a patient would receive from a full body CT scan. Areas where the annual dose levels are above two rem/year will be given priority in scheduling decontamination activities.
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Plant Status

  • Water temperatures inside the Fukushima Daiichi reactor pressure vessels remain below boiling as operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. reports on progress toward stabilizing the damaged reactors. The company expects to reach what it calls a “cold shutdown condition” in the three reactors by the end of the year, with temperatures below 212 F and radiation contained. The exact status of the fuel in the reactors is not known. But if damaged fuel has leaked from the reactors into the primary containments, however, TEPCO said “it is sufficiently cooled to suppress steam from being generated and [the] accompanying release of radioactive materials.” Radiation measured at the site boundary is 10 millirem per year, one-tenth of the government safety limit. The circulating reactor cooling systems continue to function, as pumps maintain the total volume of accumulated water on the site at a level that can withstand heavy rain or an extended outage of processing facilities.

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