Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major News and Commentary Military and Civilian Nuclear Activities

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Markey Queries NRC on Seismic Safety of Nuclear Reactors in Wake of Japan Earthquake

 Markey Queries NRC on Seismic Safety of Nuclear Reactors in Wake of Japan Earthquake
Lawmaker also cites seismic safety concerns associated with pending approval of Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactor design

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, sent a letter to Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Greg Jaczko requesting additional information on the potential impacts of today’s massive earthquake on Japan’s nuclear facilities as well as any implications for America’s domestic nuclear industry. Japan has declared an “atomic power emergency” and at least one nuclear power plant the U.S. has declared an ‘unusual event’ because of the tsunami warnings that have been issued.

“This disaster serves to highlight both the fragility of nuclear power plants and the potential consequences associated with a radiological release caused by earthquake-related damage,” wrote Rep. Markey to Chairman Jaczko. “We must ensure that America’s nuclear power plants can withstand a catastrophic event and abide by the absolute highest standards for safety.”

Earlier this week, Rep. Markey wrote to Chairman Jaczko urging the NRC not to approve Westinghouse’s design for a new nuclear reactor design, known as the AP1000, until serious safety concerns have been addressed. Rep. Markey’s letter referenced concerns raised by one of the Commission’s most long-serving staff that there is a risk that an earthquake at the AP1000 could result in a catastrophic core meltdown.

“If the NRC approves the AP1000, then it may have widespread use throughout the United States, making questions about its safety of crucial national importance,” said Rep. Markey earlier this week. “Taxpayer dollars should not be spent on reactors that could be at risk of suffering a catastrophic core meltdown in the event of an aircraft strike or a major earthquake.”

Rep. Markey’s letter to the NRC can be found HERE .
 

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Markey Warns that Japan Nuclear Accident Could Happen Here

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder, Rep. Ed Markey, 202-494-4486
Giselle Barry, Rep. Ed Markey, 202-510-3240

Markey Warns that Japan Nuclear Accident Could Happen Here

Congressman Recommends Actions to Prevent Similar Event in America

WASHINGTON (March 12, 2011) -- Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee and a senior Democratic member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today warned that a nuclear accident such as the one currently unfolding in Japan could easily take place in the United States.

“I am shocked by the devastation that has already been caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It is heart-breaking to see the destruction that has already taken place, and to hear of so many people being killed or injured,” said Rep. Markey. “As a result of this disaster, the world is now facing the looming threat of a possible nuclear meltdown at one of the damaged Japanese nuclear reactors. I hope and pray that Japanese experts can successfully bring these reactors under control and avert a Chernobyl-style disaster that could release large amounts of radioactive materials into the environment.” 

“I am also struck by the fact that the tragic events now unfolding in Japan could very easily occur in the United States. What is happening in Japan right now shows that a severe accident at a nuclear power plant can happen here," said Rep. Markey.

Rep. Markey, who has served for 36 years on the House committees that have oversight over the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the nuclear power industry, today called for several specific policies that the Obama administration and the NRC need to consider putting in place in light of the current Japanese nuclear reactor crisis:

--Imposing a moratorium on siting new nuclear reactors in seismically active areas until the completion of a top-to-bottom review of seismic and tsunami reactor design resiliency, emergency response and evacuation plans.

--Requiring operating reactors located in seismically active zones to be retrofitted with stronger containment and more resilient safety systems.

--Requiring more realistic emergency response and evacuation procedures in the event of a nuclear disaster., such as the one in Japan, in which the nuclear disaster is not the sole crisis unfolding and emergency responders are needed in many other places.

--Requiring a top-to-bottom review of whether design flaws in impacted Japanese reactors -- at least one design is utilized in 23 reactors in the United States -- contributed to problems preventing the safe shut-in of the reactors in the aftermath of the earthquake. The Fukushima Daiichi is a General Electric Boiling Water Reactor with Mark containment, the same type as 23 reactors in the United States.

--Requiring a comprehensive review of whether backup power and reactor coolant systems are adequate to deal with long power outages associated with earthquakes, acts of terrorism or other major disasters.

--Requiring a review of the U.S. Department of Energy's loan guarantee to program evaluate whether the current "risk premium" assessed for pending loan guarantees for nuclear power plants needs to be adjusted to more fully account for the financial risks of a nuclear accident in the aftermath of the Japanese nuclear reactor crisis and the likely financial market response to that crisis, and ensuring that DOE does not award even conditional loan guarantees for construction of nuclear reactors whose designs have been determined to be seismically safe.

--Reversing a decision made by the Bush administration decision to ignore a 2002 law, authored by Rep. Markey, requiring the distribution of potassium iodide to residents living within 20 miles of nuclear power plants. Potassium iodide is a safe, effective and inexpensive means of protecting against the cancer-causing effects of radioactive iodine, which has already been detected around one of the impacted Japanese reactors.

--Suspending the NRC’s pending approval of the design for the AP 1000, a new nuclear reactor design. One of NRC's most senior staff warned that the containment structure for this reactor design would not be able to withstand a strong earthquake and it was so brittle it could “shatter like a glass cup” under sufficient stress. That revelation led Rep. Markey to send a letter to the NRC urging the resolution of the safety concerns just days before the Japanese earthquake. That letter can be found HERE.

 “The unfolding disaster in Japan must produce a seismic shift in how we address nuclear safety here in America,” said Rep. Markey.

Japan rates nuclear accident as 4 on 7-step scale

Japan rates nuclear accident as 4 on 7-step scale

China will not change plans for developing nuke power projects: Government

China will not change plans for developing nuke power projects: Government

Q&A: Explosion at Fukushima nuclear plant

Q&A: Explosion at Fukushima nuclear plant

Japan Tries to Cool Unstable Reactor, Avert ‘Three Mile Island’

Japan Tries to Cool Unstable Reactor, Avert ‘Three Mile Island’

World Nuclear News Forensic Analysis Of Events At Fukushima Nuclear Plant from zero hedge by Tyler Durden

World Nuclear News Forensic Analysis Of Events At Fukushima Nuclear Plant

from zero hedge

Information on the Japanese Earthquake and Reactors in That Region Latest Updates

Information on the Japanese Earthquake and Reactors in That Region

Latest Updates

A disconnect between statement and actions at Japanese nuclear plant - March 12, 2011

A disconnect between statement and actions at Japanese nuclear plant - March 12, 2011

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Links for news on status of Japan’s nuclear crisis by Dan Yurman

Links for news on status of Japan’s nuclear crisis

controlroomAn 8.9 magnitude earthquake is affecting nuclear power stations in Japan.  ANS Nuclear  Cafe began at | 0800 | 2011 03 11 | a media clip service on breaking news about the status of nuclear energy facilities in Japan.
The news reports will be in descending order based on time/date stamps where available or when posted.
Check for updates throughout the day at the ANS Nuclear Cafe, the official blog of the American Nuclear Society (ANS).
Japan Nuclear News Links

Nuclear Safety and the Fukushima Dai-ichi Explosion

Nuclear Safety and the Fukushima Dai-ichi Explosion

Nuclear Safety and the Fukushima Dai-ichi Explosion from The Nuclear Green Revolution by Charles Barton

Nuclear Safety and the Fukushima Dai-ichi Explosion

from The Nuclear Green Revolution

Meltdown "most unlikely," nuke industry rep says

Meltdown "most unlikely," nuke industry rep says

Contends odds of meltdown at Japanese plant rocked by explosion in wake of quake and tsunami lessening by the hour

The Nuclear Threat - The Economist

ORNL has recently published a 125 page report detailing a SMR (small reactor) called Small modular Advanced High-Temperature Reactor (smAHTR) based on the liquid salt graphite moderated reactor design.

ORNL has recently published a 125 page report detailing a SMR (small reactor) called Small modular Advanced High-Temperature Reactor (smAHTR) based on the liquid salt graphite moderated reactor design.


SmAHTR is a 125 MWt, integral primary system FHR concept . . . The design goals for SmAHTR are to deliver safe, affordable, and reliable high-temperature process heat and electricity from a small plant that can be easily transported to and assembled at remote sites. The initial SmAHTR concept is designed to operate with a core outlet temperature of 700°C, but with a system architecture and overall design approach that can be adapted to much higher temperatures as higher-temperature structural materials become available. The SmAHTR reactor vessel is transportable via standard tractor-trailer vehicles to its deployment location . . . .



SmAHTR reactor vessel can be transported via tractor-trailer.

Reactor power, MW(t)                               125
Core volumetric power density, MW(t)/m3            9.4
Primary coolant salt                               FLiBe
Fuel type                                          TRISO, low enriched uranium
TRISO packing fraction, vol. %                     50
Fuel enrichment, wt %                              19.75
Core uranium loading at BOL,a kg                   1600–2020b
Core life, years                                   4.19
Fuel configuration                                 Annular pins
Fuel pin diameters (inside, outside), cm           2.2, 6.5
Fuel surface coating thickness, cm                 0.3
Moderator material                                 Graphite
Moderator configuration                            Pins and blocks
Moderator pin diameter, cm                         6.16
Number of total fuel assemblies/blocks             19
Number of core assembly rings                      3
Number of fuel pins/assembly                       15
Number of graphite pins/assembly                   4
Core height, meters                                4
Core effective diameter, meters                    about 2.2
Reflector configuration and material               Radial, graphite blocks
Reflector diameter, effective inside, outside, m   About 2.2, 3
Vessel height, meters                              9
Vessel diameter, meters                            3.5
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Japan is working to contain radiation at the Fukushima reactors with controlled filtered venting

Japan is working to contain radiation at the Fukushima reactors with controlled filtered venting

Several nuclear reactors in northeast Japan shut down during today's massive earthquake in Japan. Work is ongoing to stabilise three reactors at Fukushima Daiichi continues into the morning. An International Atomic Energy Agency announcement at 4.20am confirmed the work to restore power using mobile power supplies. There is increase pressure at unit 1 and said that this would be relieved by a controlled venting operation, "which will be filtered to retain radiation within containment.



Almost nine hours later, an announcement from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said that three of four mobile power supplies had arrived at Fukushima Daiichi and cables were being set up to supply emergency power. Other power modules were in transit by air.

However, pressure inside the containment of unit 1 had been steadily increasing over the time that emergency core cooling systems had not been active. Tepco reported at 2am that pressure had increased to around 600 kPa, compared to normal operating levels of 400 kPa.

The company then announced a decision to reduce the pressure within containment "for those units that cannot confirm certain levels of water injection" by the safety systems. "We will endeavor to restore the units and continue monitoring the environment of the site periphery."

An International Atomic Energy Agency announcement at 4.20am confirmed the work to restore power using mobile power supplies. It noted the increase in pressure at unit 1 and said that this would be relieved by a controlled venting operation, "which will be filtered to retain radiation within containment."
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Director of Global Communications / Prime Minister's Office of Japan is on twitter:

 Director of Global Communications / Prime Minister's Office of Japan
is on twitter:

N_E_I
Director of Global Communications at Prime Minister's Office of Japan @norishikata is on Twitter http://bit.ly/hYfVds

His profile:

Noriyuki SHIKATA
@norishikata Tokyo, Japan
Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Public Relations, Director of Global Communications at Prime Minister's Office of Japan. Worked for Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/index-e.html


His most recent tweets as of this email are below:

norishikata Noriyuki SHIKATA
TEPCO's efforts to depressurize the container was successful.
Additional measures are now taken tonight using sea water and boric acid.
35 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply
»
Noriyuki SHIKATA
norishikata Noriyuki SHIKATA
Trend of μ Sv/h of Unit 1 this afternoon. 1,015(at 15:29), blast (15:36), 860(15:40), 70.5 (18:58). After blast, radioactive level lowered.
55 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply
»
Noriyuki SHIKATA
norishikata Noriyuki SHIKATA
Blast was caused by accumulated hydrogen combined with oxygen in the space between container and outer structure. No damage to container.
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply
»
Noriyuki SHIKATA
norishikata Noriyuki SHIKATA
PM Kan said, Self Defense Forces mobilized from 20,000 to 50,000, and further mobilization from the rest of Japan is now being examined.
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply
»
Noriyuki SHIKATA
norishikata Noriyuki SHIKATA
Expanded evacuation (from 10km to 20 km radius) from the nuclear power station decided based on precaution, no specific danger identified.
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply
»
Noriyuki SHIKATA
norishikata Noriyuki SHIKATA
The blast this afternoon at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station Unit 1 will not cause any leakage of radioactive materials in any way.
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply
»
Noriyuki SHIKATA
norishikata Noriyuki SHIKATA
In spite of the blast at 15:36 at Fukushima , no damage to the container housing the reactor occurred. Radioactive level fell after that.
1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply
»
Noriyuki SHIKATA
norishikata Noriyuki SHIKATA
Japan accepted a team of rescue dogs from the Republic of Korea.
http://www.mofa.go.jp/u_news/2/20110312_165740.html
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply
»
The Japan Times
japantimes The Japan Times
by norishikata
Red Cross site for locating family, friends. English only but other languages coming (correct link) http://ow.ly/4cYLH
6 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply
»
The Japan Times
japantimes The Japan Times
by norishikata
Pressure successfully released from Fukushima No. 1 reactor: agency
(Kyodo)
6 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply
»
Noriyuki SHIKATA
norishikata Noriyuki SHIKATA
NHK Radio provides quake-related broadcast in 18 languages, .http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/radio/program/index.html
6 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply
»
Noriyuki SHIKATA
norishikata Noriyuki SHIKATA
Given increasing pressure within reactor containment vessel of Unit 1, gov't instructed reducing pressure of the vessel to secure safety.
6 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply
»
Noriyuki SHIKATA
norishikata Noriyuki SHIKATA
Tokyo Electric Power Co. says power shortage may occur. Reducing electricity usage requested. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/index-e.html
6 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply
»
Noriyuki SHIKATA
norishikata Noriyuki SHIKATA
Seismic Damage Info. by Japan's Nucear and Industrial Safety Agency is provided at http://www.nisa.meti.go.jp/english/index.html
7 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

Nuclear plant issues in Japan are the least of their worries by Rod Adams

Nuclear plant issues in Japan are the least of their worries

by Rod Adams

Radiation levels inside the containment will be many times higher than usual, but that is okay because no one needs routine access inside containment buildings and no humans will be over exposed. The containment walls, reactor coolant piping, and other equipment inside the containment building will condense and capture much of the radioactive materials that are entrained in the water. Other than those vented noble gases mentioned above, essentially nothing will be released to the environment.

If you do not believe me, please read the compact, two page article that was published in the 20 September 2002 issue of Science Magazine titled Nuclear Power Plants and Their Fuel as Terrorist Targets. That article, jointly written by 11 of the most eminent nuclear specialists in the United States clearly lays out the possible consequences of the worst possible damage that can occur at a light water reactor with a containment dome licensed to "Western" standards.

Additional Reading

ANS Nuclear Cafe Tsunami updates

Brave New Climate discussion thread Japanese nuclear reactors and the 11 March 2011 earthquake

World Nuclear News (March 12, 2011) Battle to stabilise earthquake reactors (This article is being updated as events unfold.)

Massive hydrogen explosion tears roof off containment building at Fukushima-Daiichi NPP

Massive hydrogen explosion tears roof off containment building at Fukushima-Daiichi NPP

"We've confirmed that the reactor container was not damaged. The explosion didn't occur inside the reactor container. As such there was no large amount of radiation leakage outside"
--Japan Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano [5]
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Updates and Video of Japanese Earthquake’s Aftermath


March 12, 2011, 5:37 am

Updates and Video of Japanese Earthquake’s Aftermath

On Saturday, The Lede is continuing to track news out of Japan a day after a devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake and a deadly tsunami. Updates below mix news alerts with reports from bloggers and journalists on the ground.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Discussion Thread – Japanese nuclear reactors and the 11 March 2011 earthquake

Discussion Thread – Japanese nuclear reactors and the 11 March 2011 earthquake

Please use this Discussion Thread for the situation in Japan with respect to the Miyagiken-Oki earthquake (8.9 magnitude) and the local nuclear reactors. Here is a precis of the situation as I understand it:
1. There is no credible risk of a serious accident. All reactors responded by insertion of control rods to shut down their nuclear reactions. Thus, power levels in all cases dropped quickly to about 5% of maximum output,  and the nuclear chain reaction ceased (i.e., all units are subcritical).
2. The concern is providing emergency cooling water to the reactor cores to remove decay heat from the fuel rods. This residual heat comes from the fission products, and will persist for weeks, but diminishes rapidly over time (i.e., most decay heat occurs over minutes and hours).
3. At one plant, the 40-year old Fukushima Daiichi (opened 1966), the backup diesel generators supply power to the core cooling system failed. This allowed pressure to build up in at least one of the reactors cores to about 50% higher than normal (unit 1), and may require some venting of very mildly radioactive steam (contains trace levels of tritium). Some discussion here.
4. New generators have been flown in to provide power to the pumps. The emergency core cooling systems (ECCS) have not yet needed to be invoked, as the secondary systems are still operable. We are still only a couple of levels into defense in depth.
5. The plant closest to the earthquake epicentre, Onagawa, stood up remarkably well, although there was a fire in a building on site but not associated with the reactor operations.
(I will edit the above section and provide further updates below, as more information comes to hand)
Some useful links for further information:
Battle to stabilise earthquake reactors (World Nuclear News)
ANS Nuclear Cafe updates (useful news feed)
How to Cool a Nuclear Reactor (Scientific American interview with Scott Burnell from the NRC)
Nuclear Power Plants and Earthquakes (World Nuclear Association fact sheet)
Tokyo Electric Power Company updates here and here (the plant operators)
This is a critical time for science, engineering and facts to trump hype, fear, uncertainty and doubt.
Updates Below

North Korean Nukes Might Fit on Missiles, Aircraft: U.S.

North Korean Nukes Might Fit on Missiles, Aircraft: U.S.

North Korea could now possess nuclear warheads compact enough to be fitted to missiles and carried by bomber planes, U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess said on Thursday (see GSN, March 10).
(Mar. 11) - U.S. National Intelligence Director James Clapper, left, and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess attend a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday. Burgess warned North Korea might now possess nuclear weapons suitable for delivery by missiles and bomber aircraft (Mark Wilson/Getty Images).
"The North may now have several plutonium-based nuclear warheads that it can deliver by ballistic missiles and aircraft as well as by conventional means," Burgess was quoted by the Yonhap News Agency as saying.
The isolated Stalinist state closely guards its nuclear program, limiting the availability of solid intelligence on its evolving deterrent capabilities. The aspiring nuclear power is believed to possess enough processed plutonium to fuel about six warheads, and a recently revealed uranium enrichment program could provide the nation with another avenue for producing bomb-grade material. It is not certain, though, whether Pyongyang has acquired the ability to field nuclear weapons on a bomber or missile.
"We expect the North will continue to test-launch missiles, including the [Taepodong 2] ICBM/SLV to refine their performance. With further TD-2 tests, North Korea may develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland," Burgess told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates earlier this year said the North could within five years acquire the ability to strike the United States with its ballistic missiles.
International negotiations over the North's nuclear program are not likely to result in total denuclearization, Burgess said.
"While North Korea may be willing to abandon portions of its nuclear program in exchange for improved relations with the United States, Pyongyang is unlikely to eliminate its nuclear weapons," the intelligence director asserted. "The D.P.R.K. will try to keep its nuclear weapons and gain international recognition as a nuclear state together with security guarantees from Washington and expanded economic assistance."
U.S. National Intelligence Director James Clapper supported Burgess's testimony.
"Obviously they continue to play their nuclear card," Clapper said. "That is their single, I think, leverage point, or leverage device they can use to attract attention and seek recognition for them as a nuclear power."
At the present time, Clapper said the intelligence community did not see another conventional attack by the North on South Korea as imminent, though he cautioned that internal politics could lead to a decision to launch another strike.
South Korea was attacked twice in 2010 -- a March torpedo strike sank the South Korean Cheonan warship and in November populated Yeonpyeong Island was shelled. Pyongyang denies all responsibility in the first incident and has defended its actions in the second (Hwang Doo-hyong, Yonhap News Agency, March 11).
Despite the uncertainty surrounding North Korea's nuclear intentions and abilities, Clapper said he believed China with its nuclear arsenal represented the biggest "mortal threat" to the United States, the Washington Times reported.
Unlike Russia, Washington does not have any arms control treaties with China, he noted (Eli Lake, Washington Times, March 10).
Meanwhile, South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin on Friday told national lawmakers that the North could be readying to restart maritime "infiltration" maneuvers, Agence France-Presse reported.
"Surprise provocations using new means and methods are always possible," he said.
Seoul recently announced plans for a military buildup including more aircraft and artillery on five border islands to fend off potential new North Korean assaults (Agence France-Presse/Spacewar.com, March 11).
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Nuclear Expert: "Fukushima Has 24 Hours To Avoid A Core Meltdown Scenario"

Nuclear Expert: "Fukushima Has 24 Hours To Avoid A Core Meltdown Scenario"

from zero hedge

TEPCO Update - water levels stable, off site power available

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/11031209-e.html

Unit 1 (shut down at 2:48PM on March 11th)
- Reactor is shut down and reactor water level is stable.
- Offsite power is available.
- Control rods are fully inserted (reactor is in subcritical status)
- Status of main steam isolation valve: closed
- Injection of water into the reactor had been done by the Reactor Core
 Isolation Cooling System, but at 3:48AM, injection by Make-up Water
 Condensate System begun.
- At 6:08PM, we announced the increase in reactor containment vessel
pressure,
 assumed to be due to leakage of reactor coolant.  However, we do not
believe
 there is leakage of reactor coolant in the containment vessel at this
moment.

Unit 2 (shut down at 2:48PM on March 11th)
- Reactor is shut down and reactor water level is stable.
- Offsite power is available.
- Control rods are fully inserted (reactor is in subcritical status)
- Status of main steam isolation valve: closed
- Injection of water into the reactor had been done by the Reactor Core
 Isolation Cooling System, but at 4:50AM, injection by Make-up Water
 Condensate System begun.
- We do not believe there is leakage of reactor coolant in the containment
 vessel.

Unit 3 (shut down at 2:48PM on March 11th)
- Reactor is shut down and reactor water level is stable.
- Offsite power is available.
- Control rods are fully inserted (reactor is in subcritical status)
- Status of main steam isolation valve: closed
- Reactor Core Isolation Cooling System is turned off.  Currently, injection

 of water into the reactor is done by Make-up Water Condensate System.
- We do not believe there is leakage of reactor coolant in the containment
 vessel.

Unit 4 (shut down at 2:48PM on March 11th)
- Reactor is shut down and reactor water level is stable.
- Offsite power is available.
- Control rods are fully inserted (reactor is in subcritical status)
- Status of main steam isolation valve: closed
- Reactor Core Isolation Cooling System is turned off.  Currently, injection

 of water into the reactor is done by Make-up Water Condensate System.
- We do not believe there is leakage of reactor coolant in the containment
 vessel.

Indication from monitoring posts installed at the site boundary did not show

any difference from ordinary level.
No radiation impact to the external environment has been confirmed. We will
continue to monitor in detail the possibility of radioactive material being
discharged from exhaust stack or discharge canal.
There is no missing person within the power station.
We are presently checking on the site situation of each plant while keeping
the situation of aftershock and Tsunami in mind.
A seriously injured worker is still trapped in the crane operating console
of the exhaust stack and his breathing and pulse cannot be confirmed.
A worker was lightly injured spraining his left ankle and cutting both knees

when he fell while walking at the site. The worker is conscious.

Sun rises on a devastated Japan the day after earthquake, tsunami

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fgw-japan-quake-sunrise-201
10311,0,6999741.story


In Fukushima Prefecture, a state of emergency was proclaimed after the 2:46
p.m. Friday earthquake knocked out a backup power system, depriving the
Oganawa boiling water reactor facility of the energy needed to cool rising
temperatures in the fuel rods. Although the temperature was running 50% over
normal, at about 750 degrees Fahrenheit, it remained well below the
2,200-degree design limit for preventing "cladding failure," said Margaret
Harding, a veteran nuclear industry engineer familiar with the afflicted
reactor from her work with General Electric.

"Remember, these are ceramic pellets. It takes a lot of heat to melt them,"
Harding said of the nuclear fuel rods.
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Battle to stabilise earthquake reactors

Attention is focused on the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants as Japan struggles to cope in the aftermath of its worst earthquake in recorded history.

Three of Fukushima Daiichi's six reactors were in operation when yesterday's quake hit, at which point they shut down automatically and commenced removal of residual heat with the help of emergency diesel generators. However, these suddenly stopped about an hour later for reasons as yet unknown.

This led the plant owners Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) to notify the government of a technical emergency situation, which allows officials to take additional precautionary measures.

Even now, the primary focus of work at the site remains to connect enough portable power modules to fully replace the diesels and enable the full operation of cooling systems. 

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Japanese nuclear reactor in peril after deadly earthquake, tsunami off coast

5 nuclear reactors under state of emergency

5 nuclear reactors under state of emergency

Fukushima II Nuclear Power Plant

Fukushima II Nuclear Power Plant

URGENT: Cooling system fails at Fukushima No. 2 plant

URGENT: Cooling system fails at Fukushima No. 2 plant

Containment at Fukushima

Containment at Fukushima

MARKEY TAKES A STAND FOR SCIENCE (AND SARCASM)

MARKEY TAKES A STAND FOR SCIENCE (AND SARCASM).... A House Energy and Commerce Committee panel met yesterday to approve a ridiculous measure: members were asked, as Brad Johnson explained, to "overturn the scientific finding that fossil fuel pollution is causing dangerous climate change."

43rd Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers

43rd Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers

includes:

SPECIAL COVERAGE ON JAPAN
From ANS Nuclear Cafe: All Things Nuclear
Media updates on nuclear power stations in Japan
An 8.9 magnitude earthquake is affecting nuclear power stations in Japan. ANS Nuclear Cafe begins at | 0800 | 2011 03 11 | a media clip service on breaking news about the status of nuclear energy facilities in Japan. The news reports will be in descending order based on time/date stamps where available or when posted. [... read more.]

The Manas Boondoggle: U.S. Needs Operational Energy Strategy

The Manas Boondoggle: U.S. Needs Operational Energy Strategy

By: Christine Parthemore | Briefing
The lengths to which the U.S. was forced to go to ensure the supply of fuel to Manas, an air base critical to the war effort in Afghanistan, highlight the fact that the Defense Department lacks a long-term energy strategy. More broadly, the U.S. government must address energy issues as they pertain to military operations to minimize future boondoggles and mitigate their negative geopolitical side effects.

Nuclear power and earthquake zones overlap in the U.S.

Nuclear power and earthquake zones overlap in the U.S.

Earthquake in Japan raises concerns about what could happen in the U.S.

Nuclear power and earthquakes IN THE ZONE: Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant in California sits within the most active earthquake zone in the United States. (Photo: emdot/Flickr) 

Japan nuclear power plant, damaged in earthquake, plans to release 'slightly radioactive' vapor

Japan nuclear power plant, damaged in earthquake, plans to release 'slightly radioactive' vapor

Japan nuclear reactor
Japanese nuclear officials are worried about the Fukushima plant, where the emergency cooling system is problematic. (EPA / The Tokyo Electric Power)

Markey Queries NRC on Seismic Safety of Nuclear Reactors in Wake of Japan Earthquake

Markey Queries NRC on Seismic Safety of Nuclear Reactors in Wake of Japan
Earthquake
http://markey.house.gov/docs/3-11-11_nrc_japan_letter.pdf

# NRC Monitors Notice of Unusual Event at Diablo Canyon Power Plant, Tsunami Issues March 11, 2011

Waste not, want not

Waste not, want not

The time has come for the U.S. to recycle its spent nuclear fuel

Press Release (Mar 12,2011) Plant Status of Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station (as of 0 AM March 12th )

Press Release (Mar 12,2011) Impact to TEPCO's Facilities due to Miyagiken-Oki Earthquake (as of 2AM)

Press Release (Mar 12,2011)
Impact to TEPCO's Facilities due to Miyagiken-Oki Earthquake (as of 2AM)
Below is major impact to TEPCO's facilities due to the Miyagiken-Oki 
Earthquake that occurred yesterday at 2:46PM.
*new items are underlined

[Nuclear Power Station]
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station:
  Units 1 to 3: shutdown due to earthquake
  Units 4 to 6: outage due to regular inspection

*Evacuation has been instructed by the national government to the local 
residents within 3 km radius of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station

Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station:
  Units 1 to 4: shutdown due to earthquake

Kashiwazaki Kariwa Nuclear Power Station:
  Units 1, 5, 6, 7: normal operation
  Units 2 to 4: outage due to regular inspection

* Survey data on radiation by exhaust stack monitors and montoring cars have 
indicated no departure from normal level for all nuclear power stations.

[Thermal Power Station]
Hirono Thermal Power Station Units 2 and 4: shutdown due to earthquake
Hitachinaka Thermal Power Station Unit 1: shutdown due to earthquake
Kashima Thermal Power Station Units 2, 3, 5, 6: shutdown due to earthquake
Chiba Thermal Power Station Unit 2 Axis 1: shutdown due to earthquake
Ohi Thermal Power Station Units 2, 3: shutdown due to earthquake
Goi Thermal Power Station Unit 4: had been shutdown due to earthquake but 
has restarted
Higashi-Ohgishima Thermal Power Station Unit 1: shutdown due to earthquake

[Hydro Power Station]
14 stations in Fukushima Prefecture, 4 stations in Tochigi Prefecture, 
4 stations in Yamanashi Prefecture were shutdown due to earthquake.

[Transmission System, etc.]
Eight substations shown below have been shutdown:
- Naka Substation
- Shin Motegi  Substation
- Joban Substation
- Ibaraki Substation
- Ishioka Substation
- Nishi Mito Substation
- Kawachi Substation
- Haga Substation
- Mito Hokubu Substation

[Blackout in TEPCO's Service Area]
Total of about 2.07 million households are out of power.
Tokyo: 3,106
Kanagawa Pref.: 101,928
Tochigi Pref.: 500,842
Chiba Pref.: 307,887
Saitama Pref: 98,425
Gunma Pref.: 155,101
Ibaraki Pref: 725,717
Yamanashi Pref: 106,044
Shizuoka Pref: 113,051 (east of Fuji River)

[Supply and Demand Status within TEPCO's Service Area to Secure Stable 
Power Supply]
Backup supply from Shinshinano Conversion Station: 600MW
Backup supply from Sakuma Conversion Station: 300MW
Backup supply from Higashi Shimizu Conversion Station: 100MW

Because TEPCO's facilities have been seriously damaged, power shortage 
may occur.
TEPCO appreciates customers' cooperation in reducing electricity usage 
by avoiding using unnessesary lighting and electrical equipment.

We are taking all measures to restore power, however, we expect extremely 
difficult situation in power supply for tomorrow as well.
We kindly ask our customers to cooperate with us in reducing usage of power.

Please do NOT touch cut-off electric wires.
A temporary small fire occured at a service building in Fukushima Daini
Nuclear Power Station. However, it was extinguished at 4:07 PM yesterday.

License Renewal Vote Says More About NRC Than Vermont Yankee

License Renewal Vote Says More About NRC Than Vermont Yankee

Nuclear Plant Extension Underwhelms Entergy (ETR, EXC, DUK)



Radiation Level Rising In Fukushima Nuclear Plant Turbine Building

Radiation Level Rising In Fukushima Nuclear Plant Turbine Building

Japan struggling to 'cool down' nuclear plant, minister says

Japan struggling to 'cool down' nuclear plant, minister says

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Negotiations for nuclear trade suspended with Jordan: State Department

Negotiations for nuclear trade suspended with Jordan: State Department

UN atom body board backs nuclear fuel supply plan

UN atom body board backs nuclear fuel supply plan

Areva Confirms Strategic Partnership With Rolls-Royce In Nuclear

Areva Confirms Strategic Partnership With Rolls-Royce In Nuclear

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Rolf Westgard: Spent nuclear fuel: More opportunity than threat


Rolf Westgard: Spent nuclear fuel: More opportunity than threat

Most of it can be recycled into new fuel -- without a weapons concern.
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Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant under state of emergency after quake No Leak

Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant under state of emergency after quake

• Thousands evacuated after reactor cooling system fails
• No leaks at 11 nuclear powerhouses in quake zone, says PM

UN atomic watchdog approves nuclear fuel assurance proposal

UN atomic watchdog approves nuclear fuel assurance proposal
Vienna (AFP) March 10, 2011 - The UN atomic watchdog on Thursday approved a British proposal seeking to ensure the continued supply of nuclear fuel for energy to a country should its supply be disrupted for political reasons. The 35-member board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency voted in favour of a British-backed "Nuclear Fuel Assurance" proposal whereby a supplier state would promise "not to interr ... more

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Titanic Quake, Tsunami Pummel Japan

Titanic Quake, Tsunami Pummel Japan
The largest earthquake to strike Japan on record (WSJ), an 8.9 on the Richter scale, hit the country on Friday afternoon, generating a thirty-foot tsunami that inundated northern coastlines and set off warning systems in fifty-three countries. Japanese authorities set the death toll at sixty, with dozens still missing. The quake struck just two hundred and fifty miles from Tokyo (BBC), sparking fires in several parts of the city and shutting down public transport. Coastal regions in the Philippines, Hawaii, and other Pacific islands were evacuated ahead of the tsunami's expected arrival. Officials say damage estimates and long-term projections of the effects on business are premature at this point. Much of the infrastructure vital to Japan's export-driven economy (NYT)--including factories, airports, and seaports--has closed temporarily. Some analysts note that the majority of industrial Japan was spared, and that following the1995 Kobe quake, many firms diversified supply chains.
The historic earthquake also caused alarm at Japanese nuclear facilities, with the IAEA receiving reports of several power plant shutdowns, including a fire at the Onagawa plant, which has been extinguished. Asian markets (DailyFinance) fell on news of the crisis.
Analysis:
Speaking to Bloomberg television, Nouriel Roubini, the economist who predicted the global financial crisis, says the earthquake is the "worst thing" at the "worst time" for the Japanese economy.
In this op-ed for Wall Street Journal Asia in February, CFR's David S. Abraham asked whether Japan's prime minister can reopen the world's third largest economy to competition.
Multimedia:
This video from the Wall Street Journal discusses the implications of the earthquake and tsunami for a country already coping with slow economic growth and political instability.
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Powerful Earthquake Hits Japan; Tsunamis Expected to Hit Indonesia, Australia, Hawaii, Mexico

Posted: 10 Mar 2011 11:00 PM PST
When a smaller earthquake struck near Tokyo a couple of days ago, I wondered if worse was on the way soon.
Japan has been overdue for a major earthquake, given their historical frequency. Perversely, there was much more worry about the impact of a major quake on Japan when it was an economic force to be reckoned with (perhaps a subconscious wish to cut the seemingly unbeatable Japanese down to size?). While the horrific death count that resulted from the last great quake in 1923, led the Japanese to impose vastly tougher building codes and continue to improve upon earthquake-related technology, events like this too often have a nasty way of defeating careful planning. But this tremblor, which registered a formidable magnitude 8.8, was off the northern coast, but still has produced serious disruptions in Tokyo. There are no good reports of the damage yet. From the New York Times:
The quake that struck 2:46 p.m. was followed by a series of aftershocks, including a 7.4-magnitude one about 30 minutes later. The U.S. Geological Survey upgraded the strength of the first quake to a magnitude 8.8.
The meteorological agency issued a tsunami warning for the entire Pacific coast of Japan. National broadcaster NHK was warning those near the coast to get to safer ground.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii said a tsunami warning was in effect for Japan, Russia, Marcus Island and the Northern Marianas. A tsunami watch has been issued for Guam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia and the U.S. state of Hawaii.
The quake struck at a depth of six miles (10 kilometers), about 80 miles (125 kilometers) off the eastern coast, the agency said. The area is 240 miles (380 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo.
In downtown Tokyo, large buildings shook violently and workers poured into the street for safety. TV footage showed a large building on fire and bellowing smoke in the Odaiba district of Tokyo.
In central Tokyo, trains were stopped and passengers walked along the tracks to platforms.
Footage on NHK from their Sendai office showed employees stumbling around and books and papers crashing from desks.
Several quakes had hit the same region in recent days, including a 7.3 magnitude one on Wednesday.
Thirty minutes after the quake, tall buildings were still swaying in Tokyo and mobile phone networks were not working.
The buildings are designed to sway but it must be really disturbing to see them move that much.
From the Wall Street Journal:
A powerful earthquake, measured at 8.8 magnitude, struck Japan Friday afternoon, causing damage in Tokyo and sparking warnings of a 6-meter-high tsunami along the country’s northeastern coast.
The yen, Tokyo stocks and Japanese government bond yields fell, with the benchmark Nikkei Stock Average closing 1.7% lower and the dollar rising to around 83.20 yen from 82.80 yen.
Television reported smoke rising from a Tokyo port building, and fire in the capital’s waterfront Odaiba district.
The tsunami watch was in effect for Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hawaii, Russia and the Marianas.
The magnitude was revised upward from 7.9 magnitude by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Public broadcaster NHK showed cars, trucks, houses and buildings being swept away by tsunami in Onahama city in Fukushima prefecture.
I hope all reader in Japan and their loved ones are safe.
Update 3:15 AM: I’m watching BBC live. The studio in Tokyo is still getting aftershocks. They showed footage of a massive refinery fire in Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo. Hundreds of thousand of people are stranded as subway and trains service has been suspended.
Tsunami map (hat tip Richard Smith):
Screen shot 2011-03-11 at 3.22.53 AM
Update 3:25 AM Wow, Wikipedia already has an entry.
Update 4:00 AM:
Japan’s earthquake Financial Times. Updated frequently, liveblog style
Watch NHK in English for more earthquake news (hat tip Clusterstock)

Media updates on nuclear power stations in Japan

Media updates on nuclear power stations in Japan

An 8.9 magnitude earthquake is affecting nuclear power stations in Japan.  ANS Nuclear Cafe begins at | 0800 | 2011 03 11 | a media clip service on breaking news about the status of nuclear energy facilities in Japan. The news reports will be in descending order based on time/date stamps where available or when posted.

Fixed Links

IAEA Tsunami & Earthquake updatesupdated as needed
Japan Atomic Industrial Forum -Updated reports
Tokyo Electric Power - press release updates

 

 

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Coping with the drop in oil supplies

Coping with the drop in oil supplies It is not surprising that tensions in North Africa and the Middle East have dominated the discussion at this year’s CERAWEEK annual oil and gas conference. The general view is that, as of now, the world can easily cope with the drop in supply. Dan Yergin, chairman of CERA, the consultancy hosting the conference, told FT Energy Source, ``This is a manageable disruption.’’
http://link.ft.com/r/M2ZOXX/TPQN49/18GC39/KEMVAV/IY22X5/KI/h?a1=2011&a2=3&a3=11

IBM and Progress Energy Team on Extensive Smart Grid Deployment

Unit 1 at Susquehanna Nuclear Plant Returns to Service


Algeria will start tapping 1000 trillion cf of natural gas and Korea starts up the Shin Kori nuclear reactor

Algeria will start tapping 1000 trillion cf of natural gas and Korea starts up the Shin Kori nuclear reactor

1. Algeria, already a major exporter of oil and natural gas, could become an even bigger exporter in the coming years as it develops up to 1,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas trapped in shale rock more than 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) below the surface.

The EIA list of countries based on proven reserves of natural gas in 2010 If the Algeria reserves were proven then that would move them up to third or fourth in the world for natural gas reserves.




A previous discussion of unconventional natural gas reserves in 2009

Wikipedia list of the largest natural gas fields based on estimated recoverable gas

2. Shin Kori unit 1 entered commercial operation on 28 February, according to the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS). The indigenously designed OPR-1000 is South Korea's seventh such unit and 21st nuclear power reactor overall. The unit took just over four years to build, with the first concrete being poured in July 2006 and grid connection taking place in August 2010. Boasting a net capacity of 1000 MWe, the reactor is owned and operated by the state-run utility Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP). The total installed nuclear generating capacity in South Korea now stands at some 18,700 MWe. In 2010, nuclear electricity accounted for 32% of the country's total production.

3. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has told Dominion and Luminant that their licence applications to build at North Anna and Comanche Peak will be delayed by some 18 months after changes in the design of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' (MHI's) Advanced Pressurized Water Reactor (APWR).
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