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Nuclear Energy Institute
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 11, 2011
Contact: media@nei.org, 202.739.8000 or 703.644.8805 (after hours and weekends)

INPO Compiles Timeline of Fukushima Events After Japan Earthquake/Tsunami

Chronology Provides Baseline of Facts to Inform Response Activities

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Institute of Nuclear Power Operations has compiled a detailed timeline of events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The detailed report, prepared as part of the integrated response to the Japan events, was delivered today to U.S. industry executives, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and members of Congress.

“The U.S. nuclear energy industry is committed to learning from Japan’s experience and applying relevant lessons to make U.S. nuclear energy facilities even safer. We are sharing this report with the widest possible audience because it is important that we all work from the same set of facts in determining the appropriate response,” said NEI’s senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, Tony Pietrangelo. “It is of paramount importance that we learn from it and take our facilities to even higher levels of safety and preparedness.”

U.S. nuclear power plants operating in 31 states produce 20 percent of U.S. electricity, with a unique combination of 24/7 production, industry-leading reliability and zero carbon emissions or air pollution.

The report presents a chronology of activities at the Fukushima Daiichi station in the first four days after the earthquake and tsunami. It does not provide analysis, draw conclusions or include recommendations on the events. Most of the information in the report has been previously released, but in a piecemeal fashion. The Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, an industry organization whose mission is to promote the highest levels of safety throughout the U.S. nuclear industry, worked closely with the Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant’s operator, to develop the timeline. Information was compiled from multiple sources, including the Japanese government, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and several Japanese nuclear and safety organizations.

The U.S. nuclear energy industry has established a leadership model among major electric sector organizations—including NEI, the Electric Power Research Institute, reactor vendors and INPO—to integrate and coordinate the nuclear industry’s ongoing response to the Fukushima Daiichi accident.

This Fukushima Response Steering Committee already has identified five areas that warrant action or further examination:

  • seismic and flooding inspections
  • maintaining safety during a prolonged loss of AC power
  • assuring the accessibility and functionality of reactor containment vent valves assuming loss of AC power
  • enhanced training in guidelines to manage severe accidents
  • enhanced monitoring of used fuel storage pools at reactors.

“This timeline doesn’t tell us why events unfolded—a comprehensive root cause analysis will likely take several months if not years to achieve that understanding. However, the facts presented in this timeline reinforce the industry’s and the NRC’s independent assessments on what our response priorities should be,” Pietrangelo said.