While TEPCO gets into the unit 4 reactor, it sets up reform bodies

17 September 2012

TEPCO workers have removed the lid of the Fukushima Daiichi unit 4 reactor pressure vessel. The vessel was in outage and empty of fuel at the time of the 11 March earthquake and tsunami.

Fukushima Daiichi unit 4 RPV lid
Fukushima Daiichi unit 4 RPV lid

So far workers have removed and lowered the pressurised containment vessel head; the RPV head was removed from the unit 4 reactor building in September.
At nearby reactor Fukushima Daiini, workers have also removed the unit 4 PCV head, RPV lid. That BWR 5 model is 10 years younger than its sibling to the north (a BWR 4), but has a similar power rating.

On 11 September, exactly 18 months after the earthquake and tsunami, the utility TEPCO announced three new groups to advise its executive management on implementation measures based on accident investigation reports submitted by government investigative panels. They are the ‘nuclear reform monitoring committee’ and the ‘investigation/verification project team’, which advise the board of directors, and the ‘nuclear reform special task force’ that is led by TEPCO president Naomi Hirose.

The company used particularly contrite language to introduce the new groups.

The company said that the gropus were established “motivated by deep remorse for the accident that occurred at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, we are determined to abandon our previously held overconfidence in our current safety culture and measures and begin the implementation of management reforms.” It adds, “We are determined to prevent the reoccurrence of another disastrous accident. To this end, present safety policies will be reformed from the ground up while taking into consideration domestic and overseas expert opinions.”

Main members of the nuclear reform monitoring committee are former USNRC regulator Dale Klein, former member of the Japanese legislature Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission Masafumi Sakurai, and president of Business Breakthrough Inc Kenichi Ohmae.

The investigaiton/verification project team is comprised of ‘external experts’ to conduct investigations of issues from the accident investigation reportts, and “clarifying issues and strengthening acccident preventive measures.” The main member of the project team is again Masafumi Sakurai.

The nuclear reform special task force has been established, TEPCO said, “to reform the existing safety culture, safety measures, disaster prevention measures, risk/crisis control protocol, information disclosure and risk communication.

Workers have also begun an investigation of the condition of steel that fell into the unit 3 spent fuel pool.


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