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Removing Fuel Rods Poses New Risks at Crippled Nuclear Plant in Japan

      

Members of the media inside the Fukushima Daiichi plant on Thursday. The plant’s operator plans to start moving radioactive fuel to safer storage.  Pool photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi

nytimes.com - by Hiroko Tabuchi - November 10, 2013

TOKYO — It was the part of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that spooked American officials the most, as the complex spiraled out of control two and a half years ago: the spent fuel pool at Reactor No. 4, with more than 1,500 radioactive fuel assemblies left exposed when a hydrogen explosion blew the roof off the building.

In the next 10 days, the plant’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, is set to start the delicate and risky task of using a crane to remove the fuel assemblies from the pool, a critical step in a long decommissioning process that has already had serious setbacks.

Just 36 men will carry out the tense operation to move the fuel to safer storage; they will work in groups of six in two-hour shifts throughout the day for months.

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Three Mile Island Veteran Optimistic on Fukushima Fuel Removal

      

Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato, in the orange helmet, inspects the contaminated water tanks at Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant at Okuma town in Fukushima prefecture on Oct. 15, 2013. Photograph: JIJI Press-Pool/AFP via Getty Images

bloomberg.com - by Jacob Adelman - October 17, 2013

The first removal of nuclear fuel rods next month from the stricken Fukushima atomic station should be successful based on findings that the rods -- each about twice the average weight of a sumo wrestler -- appear undamaged from an explosion at the site almost three years ago.

That’s the view of Lake Barrett, a former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission official appointed last month as an adviser to Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501), the operator of the wrecked Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.

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IAEA Expert Remediation Mission to Japan Issues Preliminary Report

                                          

21 October 2013 | Tokyo -- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s international expert mission to review remediation efforts in areas affected by the Fukushima Daiichi accident concluded today with the presentation of a Preliminary Summary Report to Japan's Senior Vice-Minister of the Environment, Shinji Inoue.

The Follow-up IAEA International Mission on Remediation of Large Contaminated Areas Off-site the Fukushima Daiichi NPS recognised the huge effort and enormous resources that Japan is devoting to its remediation strategies and activities, with the aim of improving living conditions for people affected by the nuclear accident and enabling evacuees to return home.

The Mission Team highlighted important progress since the first IAEA remediation mission in October 2011, noted that Japan had made good use of advice from that earlier Mission, and offered fresh advice in a number of areas where it is still possible to further improve current practices, taking into account both international standards and the experience of remediation programmes in other countries.

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New NRC Hazard Analysis Earthquake Study Released

submitted by Kay Goss

                 

US NRC study released today on "New Seismic Model Will Refine Hazard Analysis at U.S. Nuclear Plants" and performs studies at many central and eastern U.S. susceptible locations. The Central and Eastern United States Seismic Source Characterization for Nuclear Facilities (CEUS SSC) Project was conducted from April 2008 to December 2011 to develop a new, regional seismic source model for use in conducting and reviewing probabilistic seismic hazard analyses (PSHAs) for nuclear facilities in the CEUS. PSHA is a method for assessing site-specific seismic hazard that includes getting the best estimate of ground motions and a transparent quantitative accounting of uncertainty. The results of PSHA are used in seismic design and in calculating seismic risk. 

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Resilience Alliance

There are many definitions of resilience from simple deterministic views of resilience anchored in Newtonian mechanics to far more dynamic views of resilience from a systems perspective, including insights from quantum mechanics and the sciences of complexity.  One baseline perspective of resilience sees it in terms of the viability of socio-ecological systems as the foundation for sustainability.  For those that are ready to look beyond resilience as the ability to return to the "normal state" before a disaster, take a look at:

http://www.resalliance.org/

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