Nuclear Energy Institute Report on Japan’s Nuclear Reactors, October 24, 2011

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–October 24, 2011.  

Japan, France to Cooperate on Nuclear Safety

Industry/Regulatory/Political Issues

  • The prime ministers of Japan and France signed an agreement Sunday to cooperate on improving nuclear safety. The agreement’s intent is to strengthen bilateral efforts in nuclear power risk management and radioactive decontamination. The countries also agreed to discuss setting up an international team to respond to nuclear accidents worldwide.
  • A panel of experts brought together Monday by Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency to summarize lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi accident said Japanese nuclear utilities should maintain and share multiple power sources to ensure nuclear facility systems remain operational during earthquakes or other natural phenomena.
  • Japan’s science ministry has established a telephone hotline to enable local governments and citizen’s groups to report locations where elevated radiation dose rates have been found. The government has set a dose rate of 0.1 millirem per hour above local background as a threshold above which it will pay for local decontamination efforts, including removal of topsoil from school playgrounds.

Plant Status

  • Tokyo Electric Power Co. has deployed a new mobile system to vacuum dust from the Fukushima Daiichi plant site. The apparatus consists of a large suction hose mounted on a vehicle capable of traversing difficult terrain, and includes filters that can reduce radiation dose by more than 40 percent.

Media Highlights

  • Reuters reports on plans under discussion in Japan to expand emergency planning zones around nuclear energy facilities from the current six miles to 18 miles. Residents within these zones should be prepared to evacuate or stay indoors in the event of a nuclear accident. The article is accompanied by a photo of the cover TEPCO has installed over the Fukushima Daiichi reactor 1 building.
  • Kyodo News reports on Japan’s minister for the economy, trade and industry Yukio Edano’s telling TEPCO it must commit to cutting at least $32.5 billion in costs over 10 years in order to receive government assistance in paying damage compensation claims.
  • International Business Times has an article about elevated levels of radiation being found by local officials and residents in various regions, including Kashiwa city in Chiba prefecture. Other “hot spots” have been found near metropolitan Tokyo, though it is not certain whether Fukushima Daiichi is the source.

Upcoming Events

  • The American Association for the Advancement of Science holds a panel discussion in Washington, D.C., today on lessons learned from Fukushima. NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko and Barclays Capital Managing Director James Asselstine will speak. Details are on the AAAS website.