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Japan Government Seeks Proposals for Fukushima Decommissioning Projects

April 17, 2014—The Japanese government is seeking proposals for four demonstration projects that could assist in cleaning up Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s contaminated Fukushima Daiichi site.

The projects are open for bids by U.S. companies, representatives from the Mitsubishi Research Institute—operating on behalf of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry—explained this week at an information session at NEI’s Washington office.

Japan’s International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID) last October put out an international call for expert information on technologies that could assist in managing the large quantities of radioactively contaminated water that have been accumulating at Fukushima Daiichi (see Nuclear Energy Overview, Oct. 17, 2013).

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Aggressive deployment of low-carbon fuel—including nuclear—combined with efficiency gains will be required to avoid the worst effects of climate change, a working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said this week.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s expected April 17 issuance of a final rule intended to protect aquatic life near existing power plants and industrial facilities that use water for cooling has been delayed again. 

Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz told two congressional panels recently that political considerations did not motivate DOE to hand off to the NRC work on the supplemental environmental analysis for the Yucca Mountain used fuel repository. The analysis, along with the NRC’s Safety Evaluation Report (SER), is a fundamental part of the licensing review process for the repository.

U.S. nuclear energy facilities continued operating at high levels of safety and reliability in 2013, according to data monitored by the World Association of Nuclear Operators and the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations. Key indicators used to track performance against industry goals set for 2015 show that, as a group, the reactors are approaching or already exceeding those goals.

The failure of electricity markets to recognize and accord value to key attributes of nuclear power plants and other baseload generation could have serious implications for the reliability of the nation’s electric power systems, speakers at a congressional hearing said this week.

With many states wrapping up their legislative sessions, three have passed bills to expand the use of nuclear energy in their regions. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a 2014 budget revision that includes funds for a task force to study the costs and environmental benefits of additional nuclear energy in Washington state, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed a bill that encourages the development of a new reactor at Dominion’s North Anna nuclear energy facility, and the New Mexico House passed a resolution to assess small reactors.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said this week that building new reactors on time and on budget is vital to the future success of nuclear energy.

 

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