Problems with the spent fuel cooling system for Fukushima Daiichi unit 4 and a proposal to restart the Ohi plant only for the summer months highlighted the nuclear news from Japan this week.
Recent developments related to the accidents at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant following last year’s earthquake and tsunami include:Unit 4 SFP Cooling ProblemsThe water temperature in the unit 4 SFP increased from 34 C Tuesday morning to 42 C Wednesday evening after a series of problems with the makeshift system built to cool it, Japanese media reported.A circulation pump was found with burn marks just after 8 p.m. Monday, according to a TEPCO press release, and a secondary pump was activated soon afterward. Then the secondary pump was stopped the following morning. After repairs to what the utility determined was a bad terminal connection, the pump was restarted.Governors: Make Ohi Restart TemporaryRegional leaders in the Union of Kansai Governments announced May 30 they had dropped their objections to restarting reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Ohi plant – which would be the first in Japan to restart since the crisis. Nonetheless, Shiga Governor Yukiko Kada and Kyoto Governor Keiji Yamada on Wednesday put forward a proposal for a “limited restart” that would restrict its operation to periods of peak summer demand. The Asahi Shimbun reported that the proposal reopened a rift among the regional leaders. Fukui Governor Issei Nishikawa, who shares the view of the national government, objects to limited operation, saying that running a nuclear power plant is different than “supermarkets’ bargain sales, which are often held for limited periods.”Pew Study: 70 Percent Want Reduced Nuclear GenerationA Pew survey of Japanese opinion regarding the crisis showed a precipitous drop in support for nuclear power, even compared to the early weeks of the crisis. The Pew Research Center surveyed 700 adults in Japan in late March and early April as part of its Global Attitudes Project. According to Pew, 70 percent of respondents believe the country should reduce its dependence on nuclear power, compared to 44 percent a year earlier. Only 25 percent said nuclear capacity should remain at its current level, compared to 46 percent a year ago. About 80 percent said the government did a poor job handling the Fukushima accidents, and 88 percent disapproved of TEPCO’s handling of it.