Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. has established a new department in Kobe, Japan, to be known as the "Advanced Plant Safety Department," within its Nuclear Energy Systems business headquarters. The move is designed to boost the company's response to safety measures for pressurized water reactor (PWR) nuclear power plants.
Immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, MHI set up a task force charged with overseeing safety measures. Since its inception, the task force has made every effort to respond to all types of emergency safety issues: for example, applying measures for dealing with station blackouts (SBO) - such as the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. (TEPCO) - to the nation's PWR nuclear power plants.
Now, the company has decided to establish a dedicated department in order to strengthen its response over the medium term to the anticipated formulation of new safety standards based on results of government investigations into the Fukushima accident, and the need to cope with potential inability to utilize emergency power supplies and/or seawater pumps, and the implementation of stress tests.
The new department will be staffed by approximately 20 highly experienced engineers. Besides applying new safety concepts and various plans to actual detailed design development and construction work, the department will also liaise with the Water Reactor Project Department, which is in charge of new plants, and the Nuclear Plant Maintenance Engineering Department, which oversees existing plants, in order to respond swiftly to requests from PWR utilities.
To provide stable electricity supplies throughout Japan, MHI views enhancement of safety at the nation's PWR nuclear power plants as its most important current task. The company is fully committed to devoting its complete resources, working together with the PWR utilities, to safety measures for responding to SBO and other emergency situations.