NRC advises U.S. nuclear power plants on Japan’s earthquake effects

Source: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued an Information Notice to all currently operating U.S. nuclear power plants, describing the effects of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami on Japanese nuclear power plants. 

The notice provides a brief overview of how the earthquake and tsunami are understood to have disabled several key cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, and also hampered efforts to return those systems to service. The notice is based on the NRC’s current understanding of the damage to the reactors and associated spent fuel pools as of Friday, March 18. 

For comprehensive coverage of the Japanese nuclear power disaster and efforts under way to resolve it, visit PennEnergy’s Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Emergency 2011 special section. 

The notice reflects the current belief that the combined effects of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami exceeded the Fukushima Daiichi plant’s design limits. The notice also recounts the NRC’s efforts, post-9/11, to enhance U.S. plants’ abilities to cope with severe events, such as the loss of large areas of a site, including safety systems and power supplies. 

The NRC expects U.S. nuclear power plants will review the entire notice to determine how it applies to their facilities and consider actions, as appropriate.

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