Fukushima: Second Robot Begins Survey

Second robotic survey begins inside damaged reactor
Nuclear & Energy Apr. 15, 2015 – Updated 04:56 UTC-4
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has begun operating a new robotic probe in the containment vessel of one of the facility’s reactors after a similar device failed.
Tokyo Electric Power Company sent the new 60-centimeter, snakelike robot into the vessel of the damaged No.1 reactor on Wednesday.
The first probe stopped working on Friday after advancing about 10 meters on a platform in the container. The utility gave up on recovering the device as one of its maneuvering belts apparently got stuck in a gap of the platform.
The probe collected valuable images in the vessel along with temperature and radiation data. The container was filled with steam from water heated by molten nuclear fuel. Humans cannot stay there due to extremely high radiation levels.
The operator concluded that the robot’s camera and maneuvering belts functions well, but decided to be more cautious even if the new probe takes two or three days.
The 2nd robot is to take a route different from the previous one, to collect a wide range of information about the reactor.

Clean-up workers’ radiation exposure released
Nuclear & Energy Apr. 15, 2015 – Updated 17:12 UTC-4
A survey shows that radiation exposure was below the legal limit for workers engaged in the decontamination effort after the Fukushima Daiichi accident in 2011.
The Radiation Effects Association gathers radiation data for people engaged in government-run projects of soil decontamination and radioactive waste disposal.
The association announced on Wednesday the results of the survey on more than 26,000 people who worked before 2014.
This is the first time exposure levels for workers in the decontamination effort have been made public.
Association officials said no worker’s exposure reached the legal limit of 50 millisieverts a year.
They said the average exposure was 0.5 millisieverts a year.
They also said that in 2013, 14.6 percent of workers were exposed to an annual dose of more than one millisievert. One millisievert is the annual permissible level for the general public.
Health ministry officials said they will continue to supervise operators undertaking the work so that radiation exposure can be properly managed.

Nuclear compensation treaty takes effect
World Apr. 15, 2015 – Updated 17:12 UTC-4
An international treaty on sharing the costs of compensation in a nuclear disaster has taken effect.
Ambassadors from 6 contracting states, including the United States and Japan, attended a ceremony to mark the occasion in Vienna on Wednesday.
Japan signed the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage in January.
The treaty requires each country to set aside at least 400 million dollars for compensation in the event of a nuclear accident.
If the cost of compensation exceeds that amount, contributions by other countries would be used.
The Japanese ambassador to the international organizations in Vienna, Mitsuru Kitano, said the launch of the treaty represents a significant step forward in strengthening a global nuclear liability regime.
More participants are needed to boost the treaty’s effectiveness. Canada is said to be among the countries considering joining.

NRA chief defends standards despite court decision
Nuclear & Energy Apr. 15, 2015 – Updated 07:37 UTC-4
The head of Japan’s nuclear power supervisor has hinted he sees no need to review regulatory requirements despite a court’s decision to block the restart of 2 reactors.
Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shunichi Tanaka spoke to reporters on Wednesday, the day after the Fukui District Court issued its injunction. The court blocked the restarts of reactors 3 and 4 at the Takahama nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan.
The court found that stricter regulations put in place following meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011 are still too lax.

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