Japan Atomic Disaster Prompted Nuclear Reforms Elsewhere

Technicians and journalists walk along a wall lined with paper cranes on Monday at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. More than a dozen nations revamped domestic atomic safety measures in response to damage sustained by the Japanese facility following an earthquake and tsunami three years ago, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said.
National Journal
Diane Barnes
Add to Briefcase
Diane Barnes
March 11, 2014, 10:50 a.m.

The reg­u­lat­ory im­pact of Ja­pan’s Fukushi­ma crisis ex­tends far past the is­land na­tion’s shores, says a U.S. re­port is­sued on the dis­aster’s third an­niversary.

More than a dozen oth­er coun­tries en­acted safety re­forms at non­mil­it­ary atom­ic sites fol­low­ing the severe dam­age in­flic­ted on Ja­pan’s Fukushi­ma Daii­chi nuc­le­ar power plant by the earth­quake and tsunami of Mar. 11, 2011, ac­cord­ing to the re­port by the Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­ab­il­ity Of­fice. The fail­ure of aux­il­i­ary power sys­tems at the fa­cil­ity led to cool­ing-sys­tem fail­ures and melt­downs in three of its six re­act­ors, al­low­ing ra­dio­act­ive ma­ter­i­al to es­cape in­to the air and neigh­bor­ing sea.

Gov­ern­ments with es­tab­lished nuc­le­ar-en­ergy pro­grams have re­spon­ded in part by con­duct­ing safety checks, in­clud­ing com­pre­hens­ive “stress tests” that can scru­tin­ize a fa­cil­ity’s abil­ity to with­stand an ex­trem­ist as­sault, the as­sess­ment in­dic­ates.

The re­port’s au­thors said nuc­le­ar-safety plan­ners are now “con­sid­er­ing pre­vi­ously un­ima­gined ac­ci­dent scen­ari­os,” in­clud­ing dis­asters “that could in­volve mul­tiple re­act­ors at a single power plant.”

“In ad­di­tion, new re­quire­ments for emer­gency equip­ment, such as backup elec­tric gen­er­at­ors, in case of the loss of off-site power, as oc­curred at the Fukushi­ma Daii­chi nuc­le­ar power plant, are an area of fo­cus among the reg­u­lat­ory bod­ies in GAO’s re­view,” the aud­it­ors wrote.

The in­vest­ig­at­ors said some areas are still in need of im­prove­ment, in­clud­ing an in­ter­na­tion­al “peer-re­view” frame­work to help scru­tin­ize how well vari­ous states are com­ply­ing with In­ter­na­tion­al Atom­ic En­ergy Agency safety guidelines. That sys­tem, aud­it­ors wrote, lacks a mech­an­ism for fol­low­ing up on wheth­er vet­ted gov­ern­ments fol­low through on re­com­mend­a­tions.

GAO of­fi­cials said the U.S. State De­part­ment and Nuc­le­ar Reg­u­lat­ory Com­mis­sion should “en­cour­age” the U.N. nuc­le­ar watch­dog agency “to sys­tem­at­ic­ally track the status of re­com­mend­a­tions made by IAEA peer re­view mis­sions.”

The con­gres­sion­al re­port ex­amined nuc­le­ar-policy re­sponses to the Fukushi­ma dis­aster in 16 coun­tries, and iden­ti­fied new re­forms in all of them: Ar­gen­tina, Ar­menia, Bel­gi­um, Canada, China, France, In­done­sia, Ja­pan, Pakistan, Rus­sia, South Korea, Sweden, the United Ar­ab Emir­ates, the United King­dom, the United States and Vi­et­nam.

What We're Following See More »
ANOTHER GOP MODERATE TO HER SIDE
John Warner to Endorse Clinton
11 minutes ago
THE LATEST

"Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will score another high-powered Republican endorsement on Wednesday, according to a campaign aide: retired senator John Warner of Virginia, a popular GOP maverick with renowned military credentials."

Source:
AUTHORITY OF EPA IN QUESTION
Appeals Court Hears Clean Power Plant Case
19 minutes ago
THE LATEST

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Tuesday "heard several hours of oral arguments" over the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan rules. The 10-judge panel "focused much of their questioning on whether the EPA had overstepped its legal authority by seeking to broadly compel this shift away from coal, a move the EPA calls the Best System of Emission Reduction, or BSER. The states and companies suing the EPA argue the agency doesn’t have the authority to regulate anything outside of a power plant itself."

Source:
$28 MILLION THIS WEEK
Here Come the Ad Buys
31 minutes ago
THE LATEST

"Spending by super PACs tied to Donald Trump friends such as Ben Carson and banker Andy Beal will help make this week the general election's most expensive yet. Republicans and Democrats will spend almost $28 million on radio and television this week, according to advertising records, as Trump substantially increases his advertising buy for the final stretch. He's spending $6.4 million in nine states, part of what aides have said will be a $100 million television campaign through Election Day."

Source:
UNLIKELY TO GET A VOTE, LIKELY TO ANGER GOP SENATORS
Obama Nominates Ambassador to Cuba
4 hours ago
THE LATEST
GOP REFUSED VOTE ON FCC COMMISIONER
Reid Blocks Tech Bill Over “Broken Promise”
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Monday night's debate may have inspired some in Congress, as Senate Minority Leader has decided to take a stand of his own. Reid is declining to allow a vote on a "bipartisan bill that would bolster U.S. spectrum availability and the deployment of wireless broadband." Why? Because of a "broken promise" made a year ago by Republicans, who have refused to vote on confirmation for a Democratic commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission to a second term. Harry Reid then took it a step further, invoking another confirmation vote still outstanding, that of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

Source:
×