In response to the Fukushima Daiichi accidents, the European Union recently put forth new reactor safety rules, while in Japan Tokyo Electric Power Co. has revised its schedule for removing fuel from damaged reactors.

Recent developments related to the TEPCO units blacked out following Japan's 2011 earthquake and tsunami include:

Damaged diesel generator at Fukushima. Source: TEPCOEU: Stress Tests Every Six Years

The European Union on Thursday proposed a new set of nuclear safety rules that would require intensive reactor inspections by EU-organized teams every six years, similar to those performed after the Fukushima accidents. According to an EU release, it would also require a different safety review every 10 years, as well as maintenance of robust emergency response centers and the development of emergency communications plans. Member states will consider the new rules next year and would have 18 months to implement them if approved, according to France 24.

Core Removal Moved Up

TEPCO is in the process of fleshing out more specifics in its roadmap for decommissioning Fukushima Daiichi. Removing damaged fuel from the cores of units 1 through 3 has been tentatively scheduled for 2020 to 2021 – a year and a half earlier than under a less-detailed plan announced previously. At the same time, the plan noted starting that work could begin between 2022 and 2024 if more time-consuming techniques are required, the Asahi Shimbun reported Tuesday. The overall process of entirely decommissioning the site is still expected to take 30 to 40 years.

Photo: Released by TEPCO June 7, this photo shows one of the emergency diesel generators at unit 1 that failed when the tsunami flooded the unit's basement. The generator has since been restored.