NRC looks at lingering issues from Japan’s Fukushima disaster

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff will meet with the public and Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) representatives Jan. 7 to discuss efforts to resolve three long-term issues raised by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan.

The staff will discuss recommendations regarding enhanced reactor monitoring instrumentation, hardened vents for certain containment designs and hydrogen control.

The meeting will run from 1-4:30 p.m. on Jan. 7 in room O9B4 of the NRC’s White Flint complex at 11555 Rockville Pike in Rockville, Md. NRC staff will describe the recommendations and the basis for resolving them. The public will have the opportunity to ask questions and provide comments regarding the staff’s work.

The meeting will feature the staff’s proposed plans to resolve and close the remaining open Tier 2 and 3 recommendations from a task force developed in response to the March 11, 2011, accident that resulted in a meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

A massive earthquake was the primary cause of a tsunami that resulted in massive waves that overflowed the seawalls at the Tokyo Electric Power reactors and knocked out several backup generators.

The NRC “Near-Term Task Force” of senior staff members sorted their recommendations by degree of urgency. Tier 1 recommendations were the first that had to be addressed for U.S. nuclear plant oversight.

Tier 2 and Tier 3 recommendations were issues that were to be addressed with the benefit of stakeholder input or further study.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), while she chaired the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, often complained that NRC was dragging its feet on carrying out the recommendations of the Fukushima near-term task force.

Since Fukushima, NRC has devoted much research to seismic safety around reactors as well as flooding risk and the whole concept of low-probability, high impact accidents. NEI has helped us up centers in Phoenix and Memphis that will house back-up emergency equipment that could be rushed to any nuclear plant across the country in a timely manner.

During the staff’s presentation the NRC staff will discuss SECY 15-0137 ADAMS Accession No. ML15254A006) and the steps the NRC staff is considering to address relevant comments on SECY 15-0137 Enclosures 4 and 5 found in an Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards Nov. 16, 2015, letter report (ADAMS Accession No. ML15320A074).

The meeting will include a teleconference and webinar. For the call-in number, webinar details, or more information on the issues to be discussed, please contact the NRC’s Joseph Sebrosky at 301-415-1132, or via e-mail at joseph.sebrosky@nrc.gov; or William Reckley at 301-415-7490, or via e-mail at william.reckley@nrc.gov.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.