Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • A Japanese panel of independent experts this month will begin an in-depth investigation of the causes of the Fukushima Daiichi accident. The body held its first meeting in December and will establish four working teams. The panel is to begin its work by studying the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s interim investigation, which was released Dec. 26. The panel’s report, to be issued by the summer, is expected to propose changes to Japan’s administrative and nuclear policy.
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Plant Status

  • The Fukushima Daiichi reactors are in “a state of cold shutdown,” with temperatures at the bottom of the reactor pressure vessels and containment vessels stably below the boiling point and radiation levels at the plant boundary below 100 millirem per year. (By comparison, the average radiation level from all sources to U.S. citizens is about 400 millirem per year.) The announcement last Friday by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is a key milestone in the site’s recovery plan, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko said on his first visit to the site since March.
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Reuters reported this morning that the Japanese prime minister declared that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility is in a state of cold shutdown. See story:

UPDATE 5-Japan says stricken nuclear power plant in cold shutdown

TOKYO, Dec 16 (Reuters) – Japan declared its tsunami-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant to be in cold shutdown on Friday, taking a major step to resolving the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years but some critics questioned whether the plant was really under control.

The Fukushima Daiichi plant, 240 km (150 miles) northeast of Tokyo, was wrecked on March 11 by a huge earthquake and a towering tsunami which knocked out its cooling systems, triggering meltdowns, radiation leaks and mass evacuations.

In making the much-anticipated announcement, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda tried to draw a line under the most acute phase of the crisis and highlighted the next challenges: the clean-up and the safe dismantling of the plant, something the government says may take more than 30 years.

“The reactors have reached a state of cold shutdown,” Noda told a government nuclear emergency response meeting.

“A stable condition has been achieved,” he added, noting radiation levels at the boundary of the plant could now be kept at low levels, even in the event of “unforeseeable incidents.”

CONTINUE READING FULL STORY >>

See NEI’s post that explains the difference between “cold shutdown condition,” which is what happened at Fukushima, and the normal process of “cold shutdown.”

NOTE: The Fukushima updates are moving to a weekly schedule beginning today and continuing each Monday.  Additional updates will be issued as needed to cover developing events.

Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said it will receive accident insurance from a Swiss company that will replace a consortium of insurers that will not renew its policies with the utility. TEPCO will pay about $258 million for a five-year policy, about 10 times the amount it paid to the consortium. The policy will cover claims related to Fukushima Daiichi.
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Fukushima Daini Workers Laying Cables

TEPCO Workers Lay Cables to Restore Power to Fukushima Daini

Struggling against earthquake aftershocks, devastating floodwaters and debris, employees at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Daini nuclear energy facility safely shut down all four of the facility’s reactors within days of the historic 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11. The facility is located only seven miles southwest of its sister plant, Fukushima Daiichi, and produces enough electricity to power roughly three million homes and businesses in Japan.

When the earthquake struck, the Fukushima Daini facility automatically shut down safely as designed. However, it went into a state of emergency following the tsunami when water damage disrupted heat removal systems in three of the four reactors.

TEPCO reactor operators were able to quickly bring reactor 3, which had retained its heat removal function, into stable condition in a matter of hours. Meanwhile, other employees worked feverishly around-the-clock to reestablish heat removal capability in the other three reactors and finished stabilizing them by March 15.
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Activity ID: 1002943 Activity Name: NEI Remarketing Safety Activity Group Name: Remarketing Safety First