NRA New Nuclear Safety Rules Challenge Power Companies

The NRA is closer to finalizing new nuclear safety rules in Japan. These new rules would be legally binding, not voluntary as they have been in the past. Currently no reactors in Japan meet the new standards. Some newer pressurized water reactors may be able to more easily meet the standards while older boiling water reactors may find it impossible to do all the safety upgrades and still remain profitable. All of these new safety measures are dependent on the reactor not being found to be sited over an active fault line. So far units at the Tsuruga and Higishidori nuclear plants have been declared to be over active fault lines and will not qualify for a restart. Kashiwazaki Kariwa is currently under investigation for the same. The NRA’s new safety standards include:

  • A quake resistant emergency response center on site at the plant
  • A second back up control room for the reactor located off site
  • Two ways to vent a reactor containment
  • Filters on both reactor containment vents
  • Multiple power sources for each reactor
  • Ability to cool the reactor if the control room is made inoperable
  • The ability to inject water into containment to cool melted fuel that escapes the reactor vessel
  • Be able to deal with a major disaster without outside assistance for 1 week
  • High sea walls capable of protecting against any predicted tsunami
  • Fire truck and portable power trucks located on site but in a safe location
  • Generators, pumps and storage tanks must be relocated to higher ground

The industry complaints in Japan are the same as the industry complaints in the US. Costs for safety upgrades are “too much” and may make the plants unprofitable. Since safety was found to be severely lacking during the Fukushima disaster it may be more of a situation where the power plants had been operating for years with an illusion of safety. That illusion was used to profit while putting the public at considerable risk.

More reading:

Agency drafts new safeguards for reactors that may delay restarts
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/recovery/AJ201302010085

Survey: No nuclear plants meet new safety standards
http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201302240052

Japan learns nuclear restart requirements
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS_Japan_learns_nuclear_restart_requirements_2101131.html

Ikata plant expected to be Japan’s next restarted nuclear reactor
http://japandailypress.com/ikata-plant-expected-to-be-japans-next-restarted-nuclear-reactor-2123767

Rethinking Japanese Energy Policy
http://nihonenergy.blogspot.de/2013/02/nuclear-regulatory-authority-nra-draft.html

 

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