Internet site visits

3 August 2003

Communicating information to the public has become an increasingly important part of the task of the nuclear industry. Helping the public see nuclear facilities is one good way of easing concerns. The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan has developed an interesting tool to aid this.

One effective method of easing public concern over safety issues regarding nuclear power generation is to conduct informative guided tours of nuclear facilities. There is, however, the logistical problem of getting significant numbers of people to visit. Nuclear facilities are frequently sited in remote locations, and there are staffing and security issues involved in showing visitors around a site.

The Federation of Electric Power Companies (FEPC) of Japan has put together an interesting tool that resolves many of the logistical problems involved in showing the public around nuclear facilities. FEPC has put together virtual Internet tours to many of Japan's nuclear facilities on its website. The facilities covered are:

• Tomari power station, operated by Hokkaido Electric Power Company.

• The four fuel cycle facilities operated by Japan Nuclear Fuels Limited (JNFL) at Rokkasho.

• Onagawa power station, operated

  by Tohoku Electric Power Company.

• Fukushima Daiichi power station, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco).

• Fukushima Daini power station, operated by Tepco.

• Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power station, operated by Tepco.

• Shika power station, operated by Hokuriku Electric Power Company.

• Hamaoka power station, operated by Chubu Electric Power Company.

• Shimane power station, operated by Chugoku Electric Power Company.

• Ikata power station, operated by Shikoku Electric Power Company.

• Genkai power station, operated by Kyushu Electric Power Company.

• Sendai power station, operated by Kyushu Electric Power Company.

The entry page gives a map of Japan, showing the locations of these facilities, and of the locations of nuclear power plants that do not have virtual tours available.

The virtual tour, for example of Fukushima Daiichi, starts with a layout of the site, with access to technical and historical data relating to the plant. From a menu at the start of the tour, one can look at various parts of the plant, such as the reactor top head. This gives a map showing the location in relation to the rest of the plant, and also a moving image that scans around the room or area. These images are created by combining two 180º photographs taken from the same position, as in the example above. The viewer is able to use the cursor to view different parts of the image. Basic technical data relating to the item under study is also available on the web page.

These tours are aimed at people who do not have a detailed knowledge of the nuclear industry, but who have an interest in finding out more ­ exactly the sort of people who would be likely to go on a physical tour of the facility.

The tour of the four JNFL facilities gives a brief rundown of the nuclear fuel cycle, in addition to the virtual tours described above.

The virtual tours can be found at

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