Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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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Plant Update

  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. has released English translations of its Management Policy Toward Restoration of the Fukushima Daiichi site and environs as well as a 71-item Intensive Reform Implementation Action Plan for executing the policy. The plan includes building an international reactor safety research center, a mock-up facility to investigate how to repair leaks in reactors’ primary containment vessels and an equipment maintenance center. The plan also calls for accelerating the removal of used fuel from reactor 4’s storage pool and setting up a “Fukushima revitalization headquarters” to move some functions of TEPCO’s Tokyo head office to Fukushima.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • Japan’s nuclear utilities and vendors have created a new group called the Japan Nuclear Safety Institute (JANSI), which the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan said is modeled on the U.S. Institute of Nuclear Power Operations and the World Association of Nuclear Operators. Makoto Yagi, FEPC’s chairman and president of Kansai Electric Power Co., said last week JANSI was created to further improve nuclear power plant safety and to “ensure the completeness of severe accident management measures based on lessons learned from the Fukushima accident.” Yagi said that JANSI, like INPO, will give utility executives advice and recommendations on operations. The agency will seek guidance and peer review from both INPO and WANO. JANSI’s membership will comprise 123 companies, Yagi added.
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The following news article originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

The NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards said last week it does not support an agency staff position that would require the 31 U.S. boiling water reactors with Mark I and II containments to install external containment vent filters. Instead, the ACRS said in a Nov. 8 letter to NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane, it prefers more general “performance-based standards” that would give plant operators scope to decide on more innovative strategies to mitigate radiation releases in a severe accident.
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The following news article originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

NRC staff last week outlined several options it is considering for creating a more integrated regulatory framework, as recommended by the agency’s post-Fukushima task force.

The options, discussed at a Nov. 8 public meeting, include clarifying the role of voluntary industry initiatives, creating a decision process for determining appropriate safety margins, and adding a new category in the regulations to address beyond-design-basis matters.
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Activity ID: 1002943 Activity Name: NEI Remarketing Safety Activity Group Name: Remarketing Safety First