Low Levels of Radioactive Materials in Seawater, Safety Enhancements at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, Highlight Latest Quarterly Report

Report marks progress at the third anniversary of adoption of the Nuclear Safety Reform Plan, and the fifth anniversary of the Great Japan Earthquake and Tsunami


Improvements in water management at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and further safety enhancements at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station are highlights of the most recent quarterly report on progress in implementation of the Nuclear Safety Reform Plan.

The report is being presented to the Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee – the independent group overseeing TEPCO’s implementation of the plan. March 2016 marks the third anniversary of the Plan’s adoption and the fifth anniversary of the accident at Fukushima Daiichi.

As with the preceding quarterly reports, progress is reported for the three nuclear power stations – Fukushima Daiichi, Fukushima Daini, and Kashiwazaki-Kariwa as well as on those aspects of the Reform Plan that are addressed to overall safety awareness, technological capability, and the promotion of dialogue.

Highlights of the report include:

At Fukushima Daiichi:

  • The seaside impermeable wall, designed to block the flow of groundwater from the mountain side to the sea, was closed, and the subdrain/groundwater drain pumping systems designed to prevent a buildup of water behind the wall were activated. Monitoring shows that low levels of radioactive materials have been maintained in the seawater adjacent to the plant.
  • At Unit 1, preparations for fuel removal from the spent fuel pool continued, highlighted by the removal of the roof panels from a temporary cover placed on the building after the accident. Other preparatory activities include training in nearby Hirono town and precautionary measures to prevent the dispersion of contaminated dust.
  • At Unit 3, the large piece of rubble inside the pool has been completely removed.
  • Efforts to reduce the volume of waste include construction of a new incinerator to burn protective clothing in an environmentally friendly way.

At Kashiwazaki-Kariwa:

  • The enhancement of safety continued during the quarter, including the installation of above-ground filter vents to remove radioactive materials that may be released in the air during emergency venting of the reactor containment vessel. These filter vents are designed to remove 99.9 percent of radioactive particles.
  • Emergency response capabilities were strengthened through training and drills with actual equipment to be used.
  • Additional systems to inject cooling water at high-pressure were installed.
  • Following up on the error made in the installation of cables under the control room floors (which was previously disclosed), training was conducted to prevent a recurrence.

Management Aspects:

  • Benchmarks were established for safety awareness, drawn from the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) and the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, to survey methods for systematically assessing safety culture.
  • Additional training has been undertaken to strengthen emergency response capabilities at power stations and headquarters in Tokyo.
  • Two teams of experts from outside Japan provided guidance and advice on personnel development and issue resolution in a variety of specialized fields.
  • Surrounding communities have been kept informed of decommissioning developments at Fukushima Daiichi, including a meeting with the residents of nearby Hirono and a new website and monthly magazine for the workers and their families.

This quarterly report also incorporates a variety of numerical “Key Performance Indicators (KPI)”. Adoption of KPIs has been a focus of the Nuclear Monitoring Reform Committee as an important tool for self-evaluation and accountability.